Pioneer Hi-Bred International officially announced plans to bring a 200,000-square-foot distribution center to Spencer's Green Industrial Park and Spencer City Council approved the plans Monday evening.
"Construction will start here in the month of April and target completion is October of 2012," said Tim Elam, development manager for Scannell Properties, the developer for the project. He added that the facility could be expanded by 120,000 square feet in the future.
The city has agreed to a 10-year tax-abatement agreement and will also fund routing utilities to the 23-acre site, at a cost of about $900,000.
Because the agreement transfers public property, a public hearing was required.
"It's an opportunity for someone to promote an alternate project and they did not submit one," City Manager Bob Fagen said. "Anytime you do dispose of a property, especially when you use TIF (tax increment financing) and you enter into those agreements, you have to allow somebody else an opportunity to provide a counter-proposal or an alternative proposal."
Spencer resident Mike Watland objected to the agreement.
"One thing I did find is Pioneer Hi-Bred International is a DuPont company," Watland said. "It's a very large, global company that has endorsed the U.N. Global Compact that is Agenda 21 that wants to do away with our U.S. Constitution and individual property rights.
"And, as a taxpayer, I would be against any further expenses to provide this company a base of operations here in Spencer," Watland continued.
The council acknowledged Watland before voting 6-0 on all motions and resolutions regarding the agreement.
Iowa Lakes Corridor Development Corporation President and CEO Kathy Evert supported the project and provided some background information.
"About six months ago, the Corridor was contacted about a site search in northern Iowa and southern Minnesota for a very large warehouse and distribution project," Evert said. "Several sites in this part of northern Iowa were submitted. It was a very competitive process and I'm grateful that the company and the developer selected Spencer for the location of this facility."
Ron Hanson echoed Evert's sentiment.
"I'm glad to see that we do have a business going into that section," Hanson said. "We did take a lot of time, effort and money to go out into that area and it is nice to see something finally going in there. ... I appreciate Kathy's efforts and all the Corridor efforts to get something moving and I'm happy to see we're moving forward with a project out there."
* Approved a near $1.66 million contract with Beck Excavating, of Spirit Lake, for the 2012 West Community Development Block Grant Storm Sewer Project, which will run from Third Avenue West from Third Street to Fifth Street, turning west on Fifth Street to Fourth Avenue and heading north on Fourth Avenue to Seventh Street. They also approved Godbersen Smith Construction, Quality Traffic Control and MLS Landscaping and Design (pending Iowa Economic Development Authority approval) as subcontractors.
* Adopted the proposed plan for the Spencer Residential Revitalization Area, which will provide up to $75,000 in tax abatement for the building of new homes or repair of existing homes.
* Learned the city is applying for a grant for an automated recycling system and bigger recycling containers, with a goal of lessening the impact on the landfill.
* Learned that Spencer has been named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day foundation for having a park board, a tree care ordinance, a tree board and observation and proclamation for Arbor Day. The city will be planting trees on April 28.
* Learned that the Clay County Convention and Visitors Bureau received more than $11,000 in KMEG and KPTH television advertising from Spencer Municipal Utilities.