The Cambridge City Council acted on two agenda items involving potential changes to the town’s business district during their Feb. 3 meeting.
The first was approving the city to purchase the building located at 117 Water St., as well as the adjacent vacant lot. The building is currently owned by Matt Santiamagro of Insulation Contractor Services, who uses the building for insulation storage. Santiamagro has been renting office space in Huxley, but plans to build a new building on two of the five acres available in the industrial park on the south side of Cambridge. This will allow him to have all aspects of his business in one location.
Mayor Scott DeYoung said Santiamagro could lease the building he is currently in along Water Street from the city until the new building is finished. DeYoung has been in contact with an individual who wants to use the building at 117 Water St. for a research facility once Santiamagro has moved out. This individual will use the building until he can find a piece of land where he can build a larger facility for his research. DeYoung hopes the building on Water Street will become a starting place for businesses that come to Cambridge, until they can find a larger place for their business.
“I think it’s a really good opportunity for us,” DeYoung said.
He told the council he wants to act on the property immediately, to indicate to the individual with the research facility that the property will be available for use.
There has also been talk of having students from Iowa State University come in to do economic development work in town. They could help the city determine how to best make use of the space available in the 117 Water St. building.
Council members unanimously approved the purchase of the building and adjacent lot for $60,000 for economic development purposes.
Façade Grant Program
The council also discussed plans to apply for a grant from the county that will help improve the front of buildings in the business district.
The county will fund 20 percent of the cost of an economic development project through the grant program. DeYoung said if the city makes a commitment to provide additional funds for the grant program, the city will be more likely to receive the grant. By having funding available, business owners in Cambridge would be more likely to make improvements to the front of their buildings. DeYoung said projects the city has taken on in the past to improve the business district have proven beneficial for the community, and he hopes the grant will help the town make even further strides forward.
Councilman Mike Macki made a motion to have the city provide matching funds for 25 percent of the overall cost of the project, not to exceed $2,500. The council approved the motion unanimously.
City code update
A second reading of proposed updates to the city code was held during the meeting. No discussion was made regarding the updates.
A public hearing regarding the code updates will be held during the council’s next meeting, scheduled for March 3, at 7 p.m. in City Hall. The third and final reading of the code updates will also take place during that meeting.