Greene County
Cultural Action Plan

Greene County, Iowa, has long strived to support a high quality of life for its residents. The county has a diverse rural economy, and also recognizes it must be proactive in positioning itself for future success; jobs alone will not ensure a prosperous future.

This strategy targets additional future success for the county in terms of culture, recreation, and economic development.The strategy recognizes that all communities in the area must be engaged in a comprehensive community development strategy focused on these factors. Specifically, this strategy seeks to implement livable, equitable community solutions community members have recognized as crucial to Greene County’s continued vibrancy.

Visioning

Residents’ ideas are essential to any community planning effort. After all, they know the community best. Through three visioning sessions, residents shared their hopes and dreams for their community. They contemplated what is missing in Greene County, what is needed to support workforce development, and what would make Greene County a vibrant destination.

Several themes emerged from these three sessions, including:

  • An indoor/outdoor sports complex
  • An indoor pool
  • An aquatic center
  • A business class restaurant
  • A brewery
  • Walkable downtown that promotes retail
  • Trail connections
  • School bond referendum

Residents believe there is the opportunity to expand live music offerings, youth activities, and connections between parks, trails, and rivers. They also noted there are updates needed to school infrastructure and housing.

Visioning Graphic

Action Plan Description

Based on community feedback and quantitative research, eight catalytic initiatives have emerged to transform Greene County. Specific engineering, funding, and marketing efforts will be essential in moving these projects forward.

  • School District Facilities
  • Business Class Restaurant/Brewpub
  • 3-Block Downtown Revitalization
  • Daycare Expansion & Coworking Space
  • Housing
  • Regional Communities
  • Complete Streets
  • Connectivity

School District Facilities

The Greene County Community School district’s 200 staff members educate around 1,250 students throughout five buildings.

The district also has an administration building, which currently houses a daycare. Like other areas throughout the State of Iowa, the district is facing pressures due to declining enrollment; 2017 marks the third straight year of building consolidation for the district.

In April 2018, Greene County successfully passed the school bond referendum to build a new High School and Career Academy. Working with Iowa Central Community College, the Career Academy will offer new technology and classes previously unavailable in the region. The Academy will also work with the soon-to-be-completed Forge Coding Academy which will begin teaching classes in the Academy. This bonding action will result in a new future for Greene County, and set it up to become a premiere school district in the State of Iowa.

Beyond the lack of support for past referendum efforts, the City of Grand Junction has indicated a desire to tear the school building in their community down. While this is certainly not the preferred future, the community needs to be prepared for the fallout.

Before the building is torn down, developers should be contacted about the land. We believe the best use of this property is to keep the building in tact, it will be easier to attract a developer if the district/community offers the cost it would take to tear the building down as an incentive to a developer to repurpose the building. Additionally, the community of Grand Junction can take over the gymnasium to be used as a community center. This is necessary as a developer will likely use Historic Tax Credits to develop the building. These credits will not allow the gymnasium to be repurposed for housing, therefore the community center approach will be a great amenity and a cost-savings for a developer. More information on this is covered in the 3-Block radius section.

Additionally, both the South Grade building and the Middle School also present opportunities for similar building reuse projects.

The closed schools can be repurposed into residential units. The district expects to close two more buildings when the new High School and Career Academy are built. At the same time, the district understands the need to provide safe, secure buildings to allow students to focus on learning, to compete to attract and retain top talent – in terms of both district educators and residents with children – and, to operate as efficiently as possible to maximize funding.

school
Restaurant

Business Class Restaurant/Pub

A large percentage of communities seeking to generate interest from young people come to the same conclusion: They need a brewery. While a full-production brewery is likely too large an investment for Greene County at present, a brew pub would be an optimal fit.

In addition, community members also would like to have a business-class restaurant in their town. To be most effective, the brew pub and restaurant should be combined into one facility.

Jefferson is fortunate in that there are as many as five possible sites that show potential as locations for restaurants. The community has an extremely active and engaged Main Street Iowa Program (Jefferson Matters) and a highly vested citizenry. There are also several unique tourism draws including its locale as a trailhead for cyclists and the recently enhanced Mahanay Bell Tower. These, along with the community’s status as a county seat, will all be key contributors in Jefferson’s quest to attract a new restaurant operator into the community.

After reviewing potential sites, community demographics and regional tastes, as well as overall economic and restaurant industry trends, a tap room or brewpub model, rather full-scale microbrewery, along with gastropub-style cuisine holds the greatest potential for success in Jefferson. This approach stands to expand the appeal of the downtown to new hospitality patrons as well as locals.

There are several buildings which could potentially house this type of establishment. Considerations draw from both location and overall “vibe.” When a location is finalized, the space will be gutted, redesigned, and updated to serve as a taproom and gastropub with an outdoor service/patio space.

From the moment guests enter the Bell Tower Brewpub, they will feel at ease. The décor will be bar and grill “back to the basics,” with exposed brick and potentially remnant walls, high industrial exposed raw space ceilings, wood floors, and large windows that flood in natural light. Wall décor will be minimal, with local images or mementos that tell the story of the Bell Tower, promote bicycling, or celebrate craft beer. There will be seating for 80+ with an eclectic mix of simple, comfortable tables and chairs, booths, and a seated bar, making it possible to accommodate large and small groups. A partially exposed kitchen will add to the ambiance and charm, making patrons feel more connected to the chef/owner and his or her story. A seasonal patio area will have umbrella decorated tables and self-standing heaters for use during cool evenings. A large bike rack will welcome cyclists and be in full view of the patio.

Because it will feature craft beers and offer a “gastropub” menu (modern takes on classic bar food), the Bell Tower Brewpub will fulfill the expressed desires of locals and take advantage of current state and national food and beverage trends. Gastropubs play well with Iowa culinary tastes because, by definition, they offer an unexpected twist on classic foods. The Bell Tower Brewpub also will offer tapas worthy of a fine dining establishment but priced for the upscale casual environment of a small town brewpub.

The average table check in the restaurant will be $20 per person. This assumes a 60/40 percent alcohol to food mix. The price of the average tapas or small plate will be $6, craft beers $6, and signature cocktails $6 to $8. Wines by the glass will be $5 to $9.

  • Opening Capital: $675,700
  • 120 Seats at $16,310 per seat
  • $1,957,176 Annual Sales
  • $1,123,612 Prime Cost

Action Steps

Finalize Business Plan by adding Personal Decisions

Amanda Bills and Addi Meyer

Take business plan created in this plan and personalize it to fit the restaurant you want to have.

Q4 2017

Acquire Building and Investment, Design Space

Architects, Engineers, Contractors, Home State Bank, Investors and Amanda/Addi

Work with professional services to take the plan we created and price out all projects/concepts. Acquire property either as long-term lease (at least 10 years) or purchase. Purchase is recommended based on the likely amount of capital investment. Work with Home State Bank for financing, and look to local community for up-front investment of 25%.

Q1 2018

Begin Build Out and Hire Opening Staff

Amanda/Addi

Begin construction. Determine if Historic Tax Credits* are applicable, and if so, apply. Hire opening front of house (FOH) and back of house (BOH staff). Go heavy on FOH staff to weed out the best staff and ensure enough help for opening weeks. Work with professional to train FOH staff.

Q2 – Q3 2018

Opening and Marketing Campaign

Entire Restaurant Staff

Push marketing campaign out throughout buildout. Create website and show construction progress in pics and video. Plan for at least 4 soft openings with family/friends invited. Budget for these events. Good luck – can’t wait to eat there!

Q3 or Q4 2018

3-Block Downtown Revitalization

The 3 blocks between West Madison to West Lincoln Way Streets, running along South Elm and South Vine Streets have been a hotbed of activity in Jefferson. Home to the community center, middle school and the Greene County Early Learning Center, these blocks are facing some coming changes. The school bond referendum will likely create a new middle school, leaving the current building without a plan, and the Day Care Center is in need of a significant renovation. We believe this presents the perfect opportunity to remake these 3 blocks into the next catalytic project for downtown Jefferson.
A few projects have been identified for Jefferson including an aquatic park, new playground and the need for more residential rental units. We recommend pairing these concepts with the existing projects in the 3-block radius.

The center, operating out of a former grade school, needs to not only grow in space, but also remodel it’s rooms. Initially, the non-profit was looking at building new at a different location. However cost, and the ability to be a part of a major project on the 3 blocks has moved the board’s thinking toward one of the following options: stay and expand the current facilities, or build a new facility directly next to the current facility and tear down the existing facility for use as parking. The renovation would include a new, state-of-the-art playground center just behind the building to the north. A just completed study done by the Day Care estimates the project cost at $2,300,000.

Sitting adjacent to the playground, the community has envisioned a splash park with zero-entry pools for children to utilize in the warmer months. This space would be open to the public and include daytime activity for the children in the day care.

This will largely be a private sector deal. A developer needs to be identified to take on ownership of the building. It is anticipated that the gymnasium building will likely come down to make room for more green space. Community should plan on an incentive package of about $500,000.

In order to make the entire 3 block radius fully walkable and safe, it is recommended that Harrison Street, between Elm and Vine Streets, be vacated from vehicular to pedestrian. This will allow for further green space to be included in the overall plan. City of Jefferson will be responsible for street closure.

The indoor element of the aquatic park will be attached to the current community center and, ideally, operated by the City. This space will need to have a diverse concession stand in order to help offset much of the operational costs to the City. Estimated cost: $2,000,000.

Iowa Funding

  • Enhance Iowa

Federal Funding

  • USDA Matching Grant
  • Economic Dev. Authority Grant

National Foundations

  • Kresge Foundation
  • Ford Foundation
  • Knight Foundation
  • US Bank Foundation
  • Wells Fargo Foundation
  • Pew Foundation
  • Discover Card Foundation
  • Chan Zuckerberg Communities Thrive Initative
Revitalization

Action Steps

Create Capital Campaign Committee (CCC)

GCDC board, Greene County Supervisors, and the City of Jefferson

Identify 7-20 passionate local leaders to help guide the process and elect 1-3 members as chair(s) to drive campaign.

Q1 2020

Finalize real costs for parks

CCC and architects, engineers, and contractors

Work with professional services to take the plan we created and price out all projects/concepts. Expenses for capital in 2017 dollars are exaggerated to hopefully fit 2020 reality.

Q1 2020

Develop fundraising strategy and campaign launch

CCC

Spread support over 3-5 years by working with local financial institution providing low-interest construction bridge loan backed by donors. Campaign should last 18 months. Raise ½ of campaign before full campaign is announced to community. Start construction when ¾ campaign pledges are reached.

Q2 2020

Daycare Coworking

Daycare Expansion and Coworking Space

Downtown Jefferson has two exciting projects beyond a new Brewpub. The Day Care center is looking to expand, and in a separate location, a Coworking space has been a top desire in downtown. Jefferson’s proximity to the Des Moines metro has made it an attractive place for tele-commuters and those who work from home. This trend will grow once a shared space has been created so workers can get out of their living rooms and into a professional environment.

The current daycare center is planning to move forward with a capital project to expand their space. The Board is currently considering either expanding the existing facility, or building a new facility entirely. Though there are several locations to choose from to open their new space. the present location of the daycare is generally considered to be the best option.

Several other projects, many of which are recommended in this plan, will launch a capital campaign in the next 18 months. Therefore, in order to not compete, as well as to expose the campaign to new donors who may not be looking to fund a daycare center, merging with the other projects is a smart move.

The conclusion of this plan outlines how/why/who to merge with other capital components. The overall campaign is $4,600,000, of which $2,300,000 is reserved for the daycare center. That amount is not vetted, as it could be less; the number comes from the daycare board, which believes this is the highest amount they would need in order to build a new space or undergo complete renovation.

The need for expanded daycare in Jefferson was one of the first amenities identified as part of this visioning process. Based on interviews with companies and community members, quality daycare is preventing workforce development and general growth in Greene County.

The success of recent co-working spaces in other areas has led to a recommendations for one in Greene County. Several buildings present prime opportunities for redevelopment as a shared community space. Two key factors for such a space to thrive are visibility and accessibility.

Many people work in their homes or other remote locations, meaning they miss out on the natural connections that spring forth in a shared environment. As envisioned, this space will nurture these natural connections as well as an entrepreneurial spirit in the community, in turn enhancing the prospects for the creation of more businesses.

Additionally, there is potential to add housing on the second floor if a two-floor building is utilized. This would both maximize the return on the building investments and help address the shortage of housing options in the community.

Action Steps

Work to fit into larger capital plan for Greene County

Daycare Board

Work with committee to determine that capital plan can fit into larger $4,600,00 Capital Campaign I, and select 3-5 board members to be on this committee. Ask one of these members serve as a tri-chair of campaign.

Q4 2017

Finalize real costs for new building, acquire land, and create concept for current building

Daycare Board and architects, engineers, and contractors

Work with professional services to price out construction sources and users. Identify and acquire land for new building. Work with school district to create high-level plan for repurposed housing units in current building.

Q1 2018

Develop fundraising strategy and campaign launch with larger committee

CCC

Based on costs from architect and contractor, add on 50 percent of annual general operating costs and make asks for capital and on-going support. Spread support over 3- 5 years by working with local financial institution providing low-interest construction bridge loan backed by donors. Campaign should last 18 months. Raise ½ of campaign before full campaign is announced to community. Start construction when ¾ campaign pledges are reached. Work with larger Greene County plan for marketing and launch dates.

Q2 2018

Housing

As in most Iowa communities, having housing choices for all residents is a challenge in Greene County. A comprehensive housing assessment discovered a low number of open rental units and homes for sale, indicating a need for additional housing stock. While a definite need exists, there has not been a sustained effort to address the needs for additional housing stock. Only twenty units were constructed between 2010-2016, and none of these were rental units. A more thorough review indicates a particular housing shortage for those making less than $25,000 or more than $50,000.

This concept can be adapted from the Des Moines model. The goal is to offer lower than market rate mortgages to home buyers in a specified area, and in many cases, help them renovate their new home.

For Greene County we would propose the following actions:

  • Create a new non-profit and capitalize it with at least $500,000
  • Create mortgage infrastructure at a 2% or 3% lending rate for new mortgages
  • Designate an area in the county (or the full county) where lending is possible
  • Use initial capital to do 2 mortgages and purchase 1-2 blighted properties to fix up and sell in initial year
  • Offer $10,000 to each new homebuyer as a 0% forgiveable loan over 5-year time period. Dollars can be used either for down payment or to make improvements on their home
  • Option to partner with a local financial institution

The Neighborhood Finance Corporation (NFC) offers home loans for repairs and renovations in targeted areas in Des Moines. The program offers homeowners up to $10,000 in a forgivable loan if the unit is owner-occupied. Ultimately, the program aims to improve neighborhoods and increase owner-occupied home ownership to stabilize and strengthen neighborhoods.

The rural housing shortage in Greene County is caused by several factors, however there is only 1 solution – bridging the gap between the cost to build and the cost to sell. In order to achieve affordable rents and/or new home prices, the county needs to work with developers to create a revolving loan housing program to address the issue head on.

The goal of this fund is three-fold:

  • Lure developers to Greene County
  • Create a self-sustaining fund
  • Achieve enough success to make the program obsolete

Revolving Loan / Funding Pool

  • 70% of Funds for Traditional Loans – Low Interest
  • 30% of Funds for Forgivable Loans

Last Money in the Project

  • Developer 10% – First Money In
  • Traditional Bank $60% (1st Mortgage) – Second Money In
  • Housing Program Fund 30% (2nd Mortgage) – Last Money In

Housing Program Funds

  • 70% Loan (2% – 30 Years)
  • 30% Forgivable Loan (10% Forgiven / Year – 10 Years)
  • 100% of forgivable loan must be paid back if property is sold within 12 years
Housing Map

The fund will be created with resources from three pools of funding: Public Funding, State of Iowa, and the Private sector. Based on the $1B+ taxable valuation of Greene County, low current debt and size of housing needs, we are recommending a fund of $3M, supported equally by all three funders.

Greene County can create their 1/3 of the fund by either bonding, using TIF dollars or a combination thereof. As this is taking place, 1/3 should be raised privately, and we believe that is achievable in Greene County. The last 1/3 should then be applied for at the State level either through the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) and/or Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA). Several discussions have taken place with both agencies and we believe they will come to the table with this funding should the municipality be able to secure their share.

Once the fund is secured, Greene County Development Corporation (GCDC) should oversee and administrate the fund.

In the bonding scenario, we believe the worst case scenario (meaning zero homes were built and sold) would be an increase in property taxes of less than $2.00/citizen. This is, of course, highly unlikely. We also believe you can use TIF dollars generated from new windmills and completely remove the need to bond.

PROS of County Wide Housing Program in first 3 yrs

  • 10-50 new units of housing
  • 30-200 new people/families
  • $30,000 – $150,000 new annual property tax revenue
  • Helping to solve housing concern for local businesses

CONS of County Wide Housing Program in first 3 yrs

  • Potential tax increase of >$2.00 per county resident
Housing

Action Steps

Establish a board of directors and nonprofit to rehabilitate properties

TBD

Work with local attorney for pro-bono 501(c)(3) creation

Q1 2018

Work with local companies to acquire upfront capital for nonprofit investment

New nonprofit board

Demonstrate housing issue and potential ROI

Title

Begin Q2 2018 – Ongoing

Identify and acquire available property and land

New nonprofit board

Work with City staff and local real estate professionals. Clear title and liens as necessary. Look for clustered projects to take on concurrently.

Begin 2nd quarter 2018 but ongoing

Identify first nonprofit project*

New nonprofit board

Issue RFP for project and select developer. When complete, demonstrate impact of investments.

*Priority projects should include the empty school building in Jefferson, the vacated school land in Grand Junction, and the available land in Paton; see the Regional Communities section for details.

Q3 2018

Regional Communities

Regional Communities

A key component to all of the previously outlined community enhancements are complementary efforts in nearby communities which brings forth regional connectivity. With a multitude of activities and attractions in the region, this will enhance opportunities for increased tourism.

Population 557

During the tour of Scranton, it was clear two driving forces in the community are Scranton Manufacturing and Mayor Randy Winkelman.

We were taken on a guided tour of the underused community center, the downtown, area city parks, and a quick run around the New Way trucks at Scranton Manufacturing. We learned of the city’s desire to see the community center used more often, as the space features a full kitchen and rental event venue. A viable marketing plan is the missing piece to increased usage of the community center. Interviews throughout Jefferson revealed that no one knows the space is available for rent or that it features a full-service kitchen. A clear and actionable marketing plan will bring the space to life.

As it was pointed out, a critical element for the city is to transform Main Street into a viable business district as it was years ago. The major missing piece to Main Street is the former Old Lincoln Highway 30 Grille and Tavern. This space presents a turnkey opportunity for a restaurateur. There are two ways to attract an owner/operator:

Advertise the opportunity throughout Central Iowa as a turnkey restaurant with incentives:

  • Convince the owner to offer the space at a low purchase price and/or lower than market rental rates
  • The City of Scranton can incentivize the business to do the above by providing financial assistance.
  • Conduct a survey of the nearly 300 employees at Scranton Manufacturing to see how many would come for lunch each week and how many would do breakfast or dinner; use this information to demonstrate the viability of the business .
  • The other option is to work with the Jefferson restaurant group and use this space as potential future expansion.

WHAT: Launch Bauer-Built Housing Program
WHO: BM Senior Staff
WHEN: Q3 2018
HOW: Talk to current team members to determine how strong interest is for existing staff. Create marketing materials for recruitment and retention for current and future team members.

WHAT: Develop Property
WHO: Architects, Engineers, Contractors, & BM senior staff
WHEN: Q2-Q4 2018
HOW: Work with professional services to take the plan we created and price out all projects/concepts. Look at internal staff to see where skill sets align for development, and hire staff outside of team if there is a gap.

WHAT: Create Bauer-Build Housing Program
WHO: Bauer Manufacturing (BM) senior staff
WHEN: Q4 2017
HOW: Vet out 16-unit pro-forma and agree to put forward cash investment

Population 236

Paton, a town of about 236 residents, is in dire need of housing. Bauer Manufacturing, the major employer in town, has a history of creating amenities for its workforce. The community needed a convenience store and gas station, so Bauer built one. A restaurant and bar was necessary to stimulate the local economy as well as provide a social outlet for employees. Bauer built 209 Main, an upscale/casual restaurant that often sees lines out the door on weekends. Now Bauer can take the next step to create new housing.

New apartments have not been built in Paton, or in most rural Iowa communities of less than 2,000 people, mostly due to the cost of building and the risk to the developer. To build 16 new units, one would have to charge close to $900/month for a 1-bedroom unit, and most people are unwilling to pay that much in a community of this size. However, Bauer not only has the unique ability to help subsidize this project, it also sees the need from a retention and recruitment standpoint. We are recommending that Bauer acts as the developer for the project, but also helps underwrite some of the direct costs.

ANOTHER WAY - FOR THE FUTURE

A bold option is to wait a year so this building can be 3D printed. Estimates from on-going research are showing the cost for construction nearly could be reduced by nearly $15 per square foot. This would allow minimal upfront investment to be involved in this pro-forma. However, this approach is still untested in rural areas and in the U.S. The upside, of course, is Bauer would continue to be an innovative leader and could create the first livable 3D printed building in the U.S.

BAUER-BUILT HOUSING PROGRAM
Bauer has always been an innovative company willing to take risks when an opportunity presents itself. Given some unique investment, Bauer can lead the way in how companies can help stimulate housing projects in rural communities.

Included in Appendix F is a full housing pro-forma based on creating 16 new units in Paton’s downtown, across the street from the Bauer built 209 Main. The units are designed as 4 separate buildings of 1 level units. Each building will include two 2-bedroom units on either side, and two 1-bedroom units in the center. The cost to build is about $132,000 per unit. At this price point a rent of between $850-$900 for a 1-bedroom and $1,200 for a 2-bedroom would need to be charged to make the project work. Bauer can create a program to drop these costs for their employees by doing 3 things: investing cash up-front, developing the building, and/or selling the property 10-years after it opens.

The up-front investment will need to be $23,125 per unit, or $370,000 total. This amount will be returned in three ways:

Development:

  • By acting as the developer of the building, Bauer will collect the
    $109,262 development fee
  • The pro-forma already being completed and vetted, Bauer would potentially need to hire a tax-credit specialist to guide that process at a $10,000 one time fee.

Selling the Property:

  • 10-years after it opens, the building can be sold which would have a net value of $175,226 in our plan

Retention and Recruitment:

  • The initial investment of $370,000 minus the development fee, property sale and adding in the tax credit specialist fee equals a loss of $95,512
  • That loss could be written off as a recruitment/retention cost and/or marketing cost for Bauer

The goal here is if you are willing to come work for Bauer and live in Paton, thereby helping local economic development, Bauer will put you in a brand new 1-bedroom unit that should cost $900/month but will be reduced to $705/month, or a 2-bedroom unit that should cost $1,200 and is reduced to $1,015.

ACTION 1: Create Capital Campaign Committee
ACTION 2: Determine overall plan/how many buildings
ACTION 3: Determine overall capital costs
ACTION 4: Decide on first building project(s)
ACTION 5: Identify potential artist tenant/buyers
ACTION 6: Create Marketing Materials
ACTION 7: Create fundraising map
ACTION 8: Launch Fundraising Campaign, Hold large event in Grand Junction
ACTION 9: Book 2 other events – Winter 2018 / Spring 2019
ACTION 10: Continue fundraising efforts until spring 2019

Population 557

During the tour of Scranton, it was clear two driving forces in the community are Scranton Manufacturing and Mayor Randy Winkelman.

We were taken on a guided tour of the underused community center, the downtown, area city parks, and a quick run around the New Way trucks at Scranton Manufacturing. We learned of the city’s desire to see the community center used more often, as the space features a full kitchen and rental event venue. A viable marketing plan is the missing piece to increased usage of the community center. Interviews throughout Jefferson revealed that no one knows the space is available for rent or that it features a full-service kitchen. A clear and actionable marketing plan will bring the space to life.

As it was pointed out, a critical element for the city is to transform Main Street into a viable business district as it was years ago. The major missing piece to Main Street is the former Old Lincoln Highway 30 Grille and Tavern. This space presents a turnkey opportunity for a restaurateur. There are two ways to attract an owner/operator:

Advertise the opportunity throughout Central Iowa as a turnkey restaurant with incentives:

  • Convince the owner to offer the space at a low purchase price and/or lower than market rental rates
  • The City of Scranton can incentivize the business to do the above by providing financial assistance.
  • Conduct a survey of the nearly 300 employees at Scranton Manufacturing to see how many would come for lunch each week and how many would do breakfast or dinner; use this information to demonstrate the viability of the business .
  • The other option is to work with the Jefferson restaurant group and use this space as potential future expansion.

WHAT: Create incentive for new ownership of restaurant
WHO: City of Scranton
WHEN: Q2 2018
HOW: Research other incentive programs, working with local, regional, and state experts as needed. Secure funding. Advertise program.

Action Steps

Get Community Buy-In

City Council and City Leaders – select a committee to oversee

Hold 2-3 visioning sessions with community, make sure at least 20
– 30 people are there for each session focused around an artistic community plan. A major component is to sell the idea for a revitalization of the downtown. It is unlikely any one building will improve due to the current condition of the other buildings downtown. A comprehensive plan to address all the buildings is the only feasible way to improve the buildings and the downtown. This is one of the only viable options for the community and will result in creating a unique community. MEC staff will be available for these sessions.

Q4 2017

Finalize real costs for all buildings

Architects/Engineers/Contractors & City Council Committee (CCC)

Work with professional services to price out all construction sources and users to bring each building back to vanilla shell.

Q1-Q2 2018

Add artists to the CCC

CCC and Local Artists

Work with artist communities in Ames, Des Moines, and Omaha to get the word out. Contact reporters in all three markets to do a story on what the plan is. Have artists contact CCC, and break it down by discipline. Offer all disciplines and say that CCC will build to suit.

Q2 2018

Determine subsidies and programs

CCC and Artists

Programs* need to acquire sponsorship from either public or private entities. Suggestion is to start a non-profit foundation that pools resources to purchase all buildings. Similar to Baltimore’s $1/building purchase, banks agree to finance repairs through a non-profit entity that acts as property owners. The artists who occupy spaces do so with generous lease terms for first 2-3 years in order to bring program to fruition. Zoning codes are relaxed so artists can live and work in spaces. Trade off includes program guidelines**

*Programs
All disciplines can be represented, as created through visioning sessions with artists. Criteria should be created in order to determine what artists are selected for program. Programs can include visual art spaces, live theaters, music venues, educational spaces, etc. The goal is to have variety and artists who are dedicated to staying for at least 3 years. Equity in the buildings can be offered for each year they remain as incentive to stay. Additionally artists can pool together to obtain health care and other benefits.
**Guidelines
Trade offs for agreeing to move to Grand Junction and participate in the program can include: (1) Remaining for X amount of years, (2) Obtaining insurance, (3) Agreeing to showing work on dedicated schedule, weekly, monthly, etc, (4) Overseeing and executing 3-4 annual events/festivals to showcase work and community

Q3 2018

Complete Streets

In a truly walkable community, commercial services, schools, and other activity centers are located within walking distance
of housing. Walkable and bikeable communities encourage social interaction and expand transportation options. The pattern and design of development should serve a range of users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists, moving them around the community in a convenient and efficient manner. One key facet of developing a walkable community is a complete streets program.

A complete street indicates a roadway designed with the safety of all users in mind. A complete street means people can access basic services, shops, and work and school by foot or on bicycle. Most importantly, a complete street is designed based on its surroundings; sometimes, it does not make sense to have a dedicated bus lane or narrower travel lanes. See Figures 1 and 2.

Jefferson has the zoning and subdivision framework to encourage best practices for complete streets. Further actions to advance the use of public street environments for all users could range from statements of support to adopted resolutions to adopted policies. More information on Complete Streets can be found in Appendix G.

Jefferson should adopt a complete streets policy via ordinance. The policy should safely accommodate different forms of surface travel and should provide direction for those designing transportation infrastructure in the county. A model complete streets policy is included as an appendix.

The policy should integrate complete streets planning and evaluation into all current and future transportation and development projects, including privately built roads intended for public use. Complete streets should be evaluated and implemented as appropriate in all new construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, repair, repaving, and major maintenance projects.

The comprehensive plan should be used as a guide in balancing differences in street types and users when applying complete streets principles. It is important to implement context sensitive solutions that fit within the surrounding neighborhoods, commercial districts, and rural areas.

Complete Streets

Action Steps

Facilitate community conversation(s) to build complete streets champions

Region XII COG

Work with local team to identify current champions. Provide talking points and conduct train the trainer sessions.

Q1 2018

Adopt complete streets ordinance

Jefferson City Council

Build support at City Council level via community champions. Conduct site visits to finish complete streets projects.

Q2 2018

Implement first complete streets project

Jefferson City Council and Staff, Region XII COG, and MEC Phase II

Q3 2018

Analyze existing roadway projects to determine ability to include complete streets elements. Complete engineering work as needed. Issue RFP for construction bids.

Connectivity

Connectivity

One of the key factors in supporting creative placemaking is the concept of connectivity. Connections take many forms and must act in concert with one another to achieve community vibrancy.

Future development in Jefferson should focus on infill and redevelopment of existing homes. Lots where homes and businesses are vacant or blighted should be prioritized. Redeveloping rather than building on the periphery will allow the community to maximize the existing infrastructure systems.

With anticipated growth, though, some new development will take place on the edges on the community. Again, to maximize both past and future infrastructure investments, the community should make a concerted effort to cluster development in one or two targeted areas. The contemplated future land use map also envisions an urban reserve that would address stormwater issues as well provide critical habitat and a recreational amenity.

City of Jefferson will merge these concepts with their current map.

Land Use Map

Wayfinding signage is imperative to moving people effectively throughout the community. For Jefferson, the wayfinding signage graphics are centered on the iconic Mahaney Bell Tower, a structure built in 1966 with 14 bells. In 2017, the number of bells increased to 47. The Bell Tower is one of only three carillon towers  in Iowa and one of only 148 in the country. Wayfinding signage designs can be found in Appendix H.

To achieve true community vibrancy, the bike trail needs to be more than a linear connection between the trailhead and the casino. The Raccoon River Valley Bicycle Trail and the Raccoon River itself are underused cultural tourism attractions. These two amenities combine to create one of the greatest assets for Greene County and Jefferson, both now and into the future. They are the basis for a major publicity campaign to establish Greene County as an exciting, new health and well-being destination. Further, in Jefferson specifically, real opportunities exist to develop several loops for the bike trail, both within and around the community.

Action Steps

Adopt future land use map

City Council and Staff

Work with staff and development experts to understand future land uses. Educate City Council on proposed uses.

Q1 2018

Prioritize trails for phasing purposes

Jefferson City Council and Staff

Work with stakeholders to identify biggest areas of need and key gaps and opportunities. Rank trails for improvements and/or extensions.

Q2 2018

Complete initial engineering study for trail cost estimates

McClure Phase II

Contract with McClure to conduct engineering study.

Q3 – Q4 2018

Secure trail funding

City of Jefferson and Region XII COG

2019

Create funding map. Apply for grants as appropriate.

CONCLUSION

Greene County has several projects identified by this action plan to be completed over the next 7 years. They include:

  • Expansion of daycare facility
  • 3-Block revitalization project
  • Aquatic Center
  • Splash Park
  • Repurposed Middle School
  • Closed Street and Park
  • New restaurant in downtown Jefferson
  • New housing project in Paton
  • Housing plan for Jefferson
  • Grand Junction artist colony
  • New trails system
  • Downtown Jefferson Coworking Space

Specific actions to create this these projects and find the resources for them fall into three general categories:

  • Jefferson housing projects
  • Repurposed restaurant in Scranton
  • New restaurant in downtown Jefferson
  • New housing project in Paton
  • 3 Block Revitalization
  • Expansion of daycare facility
  • Repurposed restaurant in Scranton
  • Grand Junction artist colony
  • New trails system
  • Downtown Jefferson Coworking Space

The market driven projects will find their funding locally. Nearly $1 million is needed in startup for the restaurant, which will come largely from investors. The action steps in that section outline the pathway there.

We also recommend removing the Paton project as that amount should be come directly from Bauer Manufacturing as it is their project.

The real focus here needs to be on the remainder of the projects. We recommend splitting them into two timelines.

Timeline: 2019 – 2020

Projects:

  • Aquatic Center: $2,000,000
  • Expansion of Daycare Facility: $2,300,000
  • Repurposed Restaurant in Scranton:$50,000
  • Grand Junction Artist Colony: $200,000
  • Downtown Jefferson Coworking Space: $50,000
  • Grand Total: $4,600,000

This campaign should be unified, and have a capital campaign comm ittee comprised of 20- 30 members, with 3-5 representatives from each project. The goal is to pool resources. Some donors may have zero interest in the day care but really want to see trails, and someone else might want to see Grand Junction get rebuilt but is not interested in the Scranton restaurant; both these donors will be enticed to contribute to a grander vision, as examples.

Grand Total: $2,500,000

Timeline: 2022 – 2023

Major Project:

  • New Trails system: $2.5 million

Once the other projects have been completed, a separate, smaller campaign for the trails should be an accomplishable goal.

Visioning Graphic

APPENDICES

Start typing and press Enter to search