AMES, Iowa — This week kicks off informational meetings on the $49 million Healthy Life Center proposed to be built in Ames. The center has been on the drawing board with various area groups since 2016.
The project is being promoted by the City of Ames, which is also closing its only indoor pool at Ames High School in 2022. Also joining on the project is Heartland Senior Center, Mary Greeley Medical Center, Iowa State University, DMACC and Story County.
The organizations promoting the project have contributed to the effort and would use the new structure to help provide services.
The project total is $49 million. So far, $20 million has been raised through the organizations promoting the project and through private donors.
“There will be a walking track, a jogging track. We’ll have gymnasiums that will have courts used for a lot of different activities,” said Keith Abraham, Ames Park and Recreation director. “There will also be pickleball, badminton, volleyball, basketball, who knows what else.”
The projections call for a needed subsidy to help operate the center, so the bond issue is planning to cover the operating shortfall and also provide funding for future repairs to the center.
In letters to the editor in the Ames Tribune, some people have raised concern that the Healthy Life Center would complete against the private sector.
“The concepts are different. It’s not a competition, it’s a compliment,” said Nancy Carroll, director of Heartland Senior Services. “The concept of the Healthy Life Center mirrors with what a YMCA is trying to accomplish, when you turn no one away, and you’re going after the social economic status of the fiber of your community.”
“The whole idea of live well, be well, there’s three components to that: physical activity, health and nutrition and social connections,” said Abraham.
Here is a list of the Public Meetings to explain the Healthy Life Center.
Monday, June 10
6 p.m., Edwards School, 820 Miller Ave.
Wednesday, June 12
4 p.m., Ames Public Library, 515 Douglas Ave.
Thursday, June 13
6 p.m., Sawyer School 4316 Ontario St.
Monday, June 17
6 p.m., Meeker School 300 20th St.
Thursday, June 20
noon, Ames High School, 1921 Ames High Drive
AMES, Iowa — When Crawford Elementary closed in 1990, the school went on to a new use, being the Ames Schools Administrative Office. Last year, the district opened a new building for the administration, leaving Crawford without a use.
RES Development purchased the building to develop as condos. “The Crawford” is holding an open house for the public to see this school converted into modern living on Sunday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
“Crawford is an adaptive reuse of an old 1930s school converted into 30 condominiums,” said Luke Jensen, project coordinator. “Along with a lot of amenity space, there’s a club room, theater, and fitness area, then we had additional land to build a 38 car parking structure.”
Jensen drew attention in Ames back in 2015, when he took the abandoned Roosevelt Elementary, and transformed it into “The Roosevelt.” The Crawford is bigger than the Roosevelt. Twelve condo units fit into the old school. The rest are new construction atop the parking garage.
“My dad’s got great vision for taking the spaces that are vacant and empty, unoccupied, and really without a certainty for its future, can imagine what it can be,” said Jensen.
The one and two bedroom units start at $219,000 and run up to $300,000. The developers worked to keep the school’s feel, including brick walls, the Louise Crawford School Sign, and a mural painted by students heading into the 1980s.
“It’s a neat piece where all the artists contributed. We had students in kindergarten up to fifth grade that were the artists,” said Jensen.
AMES, Iowa — Three mainstreet businesses in downtown Ames are no longer able to serve alcohol as their liquor licenses have been suspended.
Olde Main Restaurant and Brewery, The Corner Pocket Pool Hall and Bar and DG’s Tap House and Music Venue will no longer be able to serve alcohol starting on May 13.
According to the state’s Alcoholic Beverages Division, the owner of all three of these establishments owed substantial amounts of sales and withholding tax and associated penalties to the Iowa Department of Revenue.
The Ames Chamber of Commerce said the future of these businesses is unclear, but if employees are displaced the chamber will assist them.
“We are concerned as you would imagine with the short term impacts that it could have on the business district, but the thing that we are really making sure that we are pushing is the fact that in the long-term and the mid-term we think that we can actually turn this challenge into an opportunity for the district,” Ames Main Street Executive Director Drew Kamp said.
After the six month liquor license suspension, the owner will not be able to hold a liquor license for a minimum of two years in Iowa.
AMES, Iowa– The Iowa Youth Institute held its eighth annual meeting at Iowa State University. The students spent part of the day in round table discussion with mentors from the community helping them to think about hunger issues from a global perspective.
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds spoke to the 300 students and 150 teachers at a noontime luncheon.
“What would Norman Borlaug do? He would question the status quo, seek methods to achieve more with less,” said Reynolds. “The power of science is in your hands. You have the potential to make a difference in your community, your county and in your world.”
The students went out on various field trips to learn things which could be used to help make more food for the world. One trip was to a nearby field and woods to help students learn how to identify soils and things which could harm the productivity of the soil.
“What we’re going to do today is we’re going to show you how to evaluate an environment or landscape,” said Richard Schultz, of the forestry department at Iowa State. “So we’re going to show you some basic tools. We’re going to have you do some basic things that don’t take a lot of equipment,” he told the students.
Schultz said he wanted to provide students with basic skills they could use in the field here in the United States or in a foreign country.
“We’ll look at differences in soil and we’re going to talk about why those differences exist,” said Schultz. “We’re going to measure trees, measure tree heights, we’re going to talk about how far the difference in root systems of a tree and progresses and things like that.”
“I think it’s interesting looking how there are different types and how we as humans affect it in his nature on its own,” said Sabrina Leistikow, a student at Cedar Falls High School. “Having a demonstration in a real-life setting really applies what we’ve been learning.”