Marshalltown Considering Investing in Downtown Development, Airport Upgrade

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MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa -- The city of Marshalltown is still recovering from last summer's devastating tornado. In trying to rebuild the downtown area, the city is considering investing in a local economic development plan.

Monday night at 5:30 p.m. the city council is having a public hearing about a proposed project that's said to bring 100 jobs to the downtown area and a major development agreement with a local businessman.

Jose Angel Regalado is proposing construction at 107 North Center Street for a new grocery store and restaurant. It's a $3.64 million investment. According to the Housing and Community Development Director, Michelle Spohnheimer, Regalado approached the city for assistance.

The city is proposing an agreement to the council that would give Regalado a maximum of $850,000 in a property tax rebate. The grocery store and restaurant will go up at the former location of Anytime Fitness and other businesses that were damaged by the tornado and had to be torn down.

The Regalado family owned and operated a local grocery store just a block away for a number of years before being destroyed by the tornado. The family also owns and operates the Impala Ballroom.

That's not the only economic development happening in Marshalltown. The city is also moving forward with construction at its municipal airport.

With help from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Iowa Department of Transportation (DOT), the city is planning for a $2.6 million project to get an upgraded hangar and possibly a new terminal for the airport starting in 2020. The new hanger can help local businesses like JBS processing plant, and Emerson Process Management, so they can house corporate jets.

“One of the things is our hangar doesn't have a tall enough door to fit some of the corporate jets that come in right now, so they end up diverting to Des Moines, Ames, or Newton and then driving here,” Justin Nickel, Marshalltown’s public works director, and city engineer said. “Well if they fly to one of those other communities and then drive here, they see all the other development opportunities in those communities. We'd rather have them stay here. The hangar isn't tall enough for a lot of today's jets and that's the main driving factor to the hanger replacement.”

The FAA and the Iowa DOT are providing about $1 million of the $2.6 million renovation price tag.

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