This fall has seen a lot of progress for the City of Osceola. The city has seen successful, city-wide events like Wine Walk and Trunk-or-Treat as well as community and quality-of-life improvements like the trail additions at East Lake Park. One significant change, approved by City Council earlier in October and funded through an agreement between The City, the Clarke County Development Corporation and Alliant Energy, is the gas main extension to the Eddy Saylor Business Park located in the south west corner of the city just off I-35.
Developed for new business over a decade ago, requirements stipulated by Alliant and the Iowa Utilities Board to have natural gas lines extended to the park were never met. While the business park has seen successful businesses like Boyt Harness Company, Osceola Farm and Home, and Iowa Steel locate there, their need for natural gas has been nominal. While discussions around having the gas lines added have been going on since the business park’s inception, Alliant could not commit to the extension, and the significant investment to do so, on the speculation of use alone.
“Without natural gas to that area, we couldn’t qualify for the state’s ‘shovel-ready’ business park status,” said Bill Trickey, Executive Director of the Clarke County Development Corporation. “This gas extension will add us to that list and expose the site to a much larger group of prospective businesses.”
After rounds of negotiation, discussions between the CCDC, Alliant Energy, and the City, at the October 2nd City Council meeting an agreement to have the gas facilities extended to the business park was proposed and approved. The agreement ultimately requiring an outlay of $617,997.91 to Alliant will be financed through local banks in a loan to the City. The Development Corporation, as payments come due on the loan, will immediately grant reimbursement to the City, keeping the costs of the development from impacting taxes or requiring additional external funding.
“Local leadership knew that to get this done and to be able to move forward with business development strategies for the city, there had to be some skin in the game,” said Ty Wheeler, Osceola City Administrator. “Keeping this tax-neutral means big opportunities for the future of our city, its businesses, and its citizens.”
With the execution of the agreement and financing coordinated, Alliant will be able to start the gas line extensions as soon as this month.