City contracts with firm to create Community Development Plan

Monday, November 14, 2022
(Sentinel Photo by Beverly Van Buskirk) Housing developments, such as this one south of 18th Street Southeast, are just one of the topics to be addressed as part of the Community Development Plan which the city of Le Mars will work on in the next year.

LE MARS — With a goal of looking to the future for what Le Mars can be, the Le Mars city council has approved the hiring of ISG, Inc., for their services in creating a Community Development Plan for the community at its Nov. 1 meeting.

The purpose of the Community Development Plan is to develop the community vision and set priorities for growth to maximize partnerships and leverage resources, according to city officials.

A Request for Proposals was sent to 10 firms seeking their services to create a Community Development Plan. Six firms responded with proposals by the Sept. 23, deadline.

The committee consisting of Mark Gaul, Jason Vacura, Rob Bixenman, Clark Goodchild, and Micah Lang reviewed the six proposals and interviewed the top two, McClure and ISG.

The committee recommended that ISG be hired to assist with the creation of the Community Development Plan.

“We had two really good finalists,” said Mayor Rob Bixenman of the proposals. “It was really easy after interviewing the finalists that there wasn’t a whole to discuss on which should be our firm.”

Le Mars Community Development Director Mark Gaul addressed the council regarding the ISG proposal and contract.

“The first thing we will do is provide background information to ISG so they get a flavor of the community and understand where we’ve been,” Gaul said.

At the same time, we will form a steering committee, consisting of eight to 10 people, that will guide ISG as we start working through the plan and make sure we’re accomplishing what we want to do. They will meet on a regular basis with ISG and communicate with them and will start forming different meetings, different groups,” Gaul continued. “It will be very transparent to the community and there will be a lot of communication with the council, and community. Eventually a website will be created so everybody can keep up with it. The process is normally nine months to a year.

“At the end, there will be a presentation to the community and to the city of what our goals are for the future and some estimated costs, and what it will take to accomplish it,” Gaul said.

According to information provided by ISG, Phase I will be Visioning + Goals, and will be conducted from November to February 2023.

Phase 2 will be to draft a community development plan. The timeline calls for that work to be done from February through June.

Phase 3 will be to finalize the community development plan. That timeline runs from June through September.

In addressing the timeframe flow chart, ISG wrote, “ISG looks forward to partnering with the city to set priorities for growth that will help achieve the city’s goal to maximize partnerships and leverage resources. Through effective coordination, ISG will keep planning efforts on track by achieving (those) milestones to develop a plan that highlights short- and long-term development opportunities. By conducting community visioning sessions, reviewing existing planning documents, and assessing community assets in accordance with the schedule, ISG will develop an easily implementable plan to serve as a road map for the city to use for years to come.”

It is estimated it will cost the city $105,000 to develop the plan. In hiring ISG, city administration said American Rescue Plan Act funds could be used to pay the cost.

Council members unanimously approved a motion authorizing entering into an agreement with ISG, Inc., in the amount of $105,000 using American Rescue Plan Act funds to create a Community Development Plan.

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