By Steve Peterson
At its Sept. 10 meeting Plymouth County Supervisors discussed vacating a portion of a road, 212th Street, near the intersection of Iowa Highway 75 so that SmithCo. Manufacturing Inc. may possibly have future expansion.
The matter was delayed until Sept. 24 for further discussion.
The county received a RISE grant in 1999 of $160,000 for 212th Street from Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT).
“The site is one-quarter mile south of County Road C-38 and just west of 75. The first phase cost proposal is $105,915.36 for a left turn lane and crossover at Highway 75 and the Phase Two cost is $104,351.64 for grading and paving west of Highway 75 for a total of $210,267. We looked at a method of prorating the cost, which will be 2,339.65 square yards for the total pavement placed, so it is almost a 50-50 split in square yards of pavement between the two phases. Along with the RISE grant there was a requirement to maintain so many jobs. That was in 1999 and when we submitted the data they had come up short after 2003, of $22,560 in a default because we were under the numbers we had originally projected. That left $68,720. I have had some contract with them since that time since it had been five years since we last discussed it, and if we did vacate it today they would be looking at a settlement amount of $10,101. Some of the state’s RISE grant would have to be paid back,”
said County Engineer Tom Rohe.
SmithCo is a side dump trailer manufacturer which started in 1994. Its present facility has 70,000 square feet.
Rohe explained this was originally part of the NIPCO Industrial Park. There were two lots plus a 100-foot right of way that was dedicated to the county and we also reconstructed a shoulder area in 1998-99. That was done in Phase One of Two phases. A few years ago we talked to SmithCo Manufacturing about allowing them some expansion. The site is part of a Tax Increment Finance area which expired in 2007, with $55,275 in taxes received.
If the suggested section is vacated a portion of 212th would still be maintained as a county road nearby for snow removal.
“They do not know for sure yet but they would like to have the ability to expand,” said Rohe.
Expansion is needed due to constraints of trucks making a turn, said Rohe.
“What would be the plan if there was any more development to the west,” asked Supervisor Craig Anderson.
“We would need to bring 212th to the site or we would have to come off of C-38,” said Rohe.
Supervisor Jack Guenthner said the company, which employs about 95 people, at an average wage of $17 to $18 per hour plus benefits, “it is a pretty important industry,” said Guenthner, and it would be willing to pay settlement costs or the RISE grant repayment, $32,000.
“It is taking the most desirable property off the tax roles,” said Anderson.
“If we approve this we are closing the door on possibly recouping our cost,” said Supervisor Don Kass.
“We would be helping an established and successful business,” said Supervisor Jim Henrich.
Dave Pick has a 16-foot easement nearby.
“We should all drive down and take a look at it. It’s not just vacating a dirt road like we normally do,” said Anderson.
“I don’t think there is any immediate urgency although they are experiencing an uptick in business,” said Le Mars Chamber of Commerce Director Neal Adler.
Fifth Street in Merrill has been paved.
Dixon Construction on the 160th Street bridge replacement near Le Mars is in the stripe phase.
County Road C-38 was in need of a few days of work west of Le Mars and had a local traffic only posting, said Rohe. Cedar Valley Construction Inc. was doing paving work.
Plymouth County supervisors meet each Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. at the Plymouth County Courthouse, 215 4th Ave. SE, Le Mars. Meetings are open to the public. The next scheduled meeting is Sept. 17.