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Carlisle’s 5-year Plan Means Improvement For Businesses

The City of Carlisle held a public hearing Monday about its proposed five-year improvement plan.

The Carlisle Improvement Plan (CIP) helps the city council plan future city projects.  According to city clerk administrator, Neil Ruddy, several projects proposed in the plan would directly affect small business in Carlisle.

The RISE Project:

The Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy (RISE) project would create opportunities for new small businesses

“That’s actually a new street in a new commercial subdivision,” Ruddy said. “It doesn’t affect existing small business, but it does provide opportunity for small businesses in the future, because it will result in several ready development sites that are zoned for commercial development.”

Funding for the project comes from a RISE grant.

“It’s money to allow cities to create economic development activity,” said Ruddy.

Ruddy also said that existing businesses wanting to change locations will have the opportunity to move into the new commercial subdivision, as well.

Downtown Redevelopment:

Another project provides for the redevelopment of property in the downtown area.

“There’s actually two pieces to that,” Ruddy said. “One is in 2014 the dangerous and dilapidated land acquisition, and the next piece of it is downtown redevelopment.  The general idea there is if there’s a piece of property that has been condemned or abandoned, the city would be able to acquire the property, demolish whatever was on it that people had abandoned, and then make the property available for redevelopment.”

Redevelopment of dangerous and dilapidated land allows Carlisle to make room for more businesses.

“The thing the city is looking at always is expanding the footprint of its downtown making it larger, so there’s more room for business,” said Ruddy. “There are a number residences around the edge of the downtown, some of which are in poor condition. So if that ever happens it probably would focus on a residential property and the idea would be to convert it into a commercial property.”

This is not like the Indianola’s Downtown Incentive Program that helps businesses foot the bill for exterior building repairs. However, Ruddy says Carlisle is looking to implement a similar program as soon as it has funding.

Cable Relocate Downtown:

Currently, certain areas of the downtown receive power from a one-way feed that isn’t 100 percent reliable. Carlisle’s downtown power infrastructure will be updated to fix the problem.

“If something happened to the cable that was feeding the business, the business would be out of power until they replaced the cable,” Ruddy said.  “What the city would like to do is make everything a loop, so if one part of the cable failed the business could be fed from the other direction. That project is to replace the last of our one-way feeds with a loop system to make it more reliable.  Specifically, it’s the heart of the downtown where the grocery store, bank and doctor’s office are.”

Vision Iowa Trail:

The project will extend the Summerset Trail from Indianola to Carlisle west through the city.  It would finally end where Highway 5 and the bypass meet.

“A lot of people see those having benefits to small business because as you increase the amount of people who come to use your trail system, the more likely they are to do business with other people in town,” Ruddy said. “The hope would be as more people use the facilities that opens up opportunities for (businesses) to take advantage of those visitors.”

Ruddy used the trail in Cumming, Iowa as an example.

“The best example of that I think is there is a bar in Cumming that gets a lot of benefit from the Great Western Trail and probably wouldn’t be there without it, because Cumming doesn’t attract a lot of visitors otherwise,” Ruddy said. “So it’s an attempt to cash in on people interested in visiting you because of your tourist possibilities.”

Storm Water Utility:

Carlisle does not currently have a storm water utility and is one of the few towns in Warren County that doesn’t.

“(A storm water utility is) where each property is charged a certain amount based on the area of the property to help operate the storm sewer system,” Ruddy said. “They would receive a monthly utility bill.”

Ruddy says a storm water utility will impact on businesses more than residents.

“(Businesses) have bigger parking lots and roof areas than residential properties,” said Ruddy. “Usually, it’s based on the amount of runoff a property generates during a rainstorm. So it’s based on impervious surfaces like roofs and parking lots, and it is so many cents per square foot or acre. At this point, it’s still a concept and isn’t in this plan until 2015 so it wouldn’t be happening right away.”

For more information about these projects and the Carlisle Improvement Plan contact the City of Carlisle.

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About Hanna Russmann

I am a senior at Simpson College majoring in multimedia journalism and minoring in management.

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