Couple seeks to remodel Keosauqua’s Hotel Manning
KEOSAUQUA – Owners of a Keosauqua business have approached the city council in regards to a major project involving the Hotel Manning.
John and Sonia Stookesberry have owned Village Cup and Cakes for the past 10 years and started Starwest Cable in the early 1980s. They would like to purchase Hotel Manning from owners Ron and Melinda Davenport.
“It’s a large vision,” Stookesberry told the city council.
“The plan is to remodel the hotel into the old grand building she is and using historic funds, to be brought back to its grandeur, it will last for the next 100 years.”
Stookesberry said some of the buildings behind the original hotel will be removed, under the proposal, with an events center built, capable of housing 250 people.
“We would keep the two-story new hotel,” he said.
“I feel it’s a very good project for Keosauqua,” Stookesberry added.
In order to help finance the project he would like to take advantage of using a state tax credit program for historic buildings.
He is working on financing the $2.5 million project.
Stookesberry requested a Tax Increment Financing District be set up in the downtown, including the Hotel Manning.
Tax increment financing is a method of reallocating property tax revenues which are produced as a result of an increase in taxable valuation above a “base valuation” figure within a tax increment area.
Until the tax increment debt within an area has been repaid, tax revenues produced by property tax levies imposed on the increased taxable valuation by a city, county, school district, or any other taxing jurisdiction are all allocated back to the city or county which has established the TIF. The city needs to identify the boundaries or legal description of the proposed area.
“A project this large has to be a public/private venture. It could lead to more projects downtown. To make that work, there needs to be a good first example. We’re taking a pretty good gamble, but we want this to showcase Hotel Manning. We have been talking about Hotel Manning for a few years. Our hope is this will invigorate the town.”
Keosauqua already has a TIF district/urban renewal zone, on the city’s north side, according to Keosauqua Mayor Kevin Hranicka.
The city has two options, he said. One would be to use the existing TIF and extend the urban renewal zone down to include the hotel. The other option is to establish a new TIF district. Each option has its advantages and disadvantages.
The first option, using the existing TIF, already has a cash balance and revenue attached to it, while the second option would take time to build an available balance, Hranicka told Stookesberry. However, the city would have to discuss with the bonding company to see if the first option was available.
Either way, Hranicka said, it could take time to get one established.
City attorney John Morrissey said, “the council might spend four or five months getting there.”
The council was agreeable to consult with the bonding agency and gather information from necessary sources.
“I think we reminisce about the hotel,” said Twyla Peacock, city council member.
In other council action and/or discussion:
• Matt Walker, representing French-Reneker-Associates discussed the deterioration of First Street and Van Buren Street intersection and Cass Street and First Street intersection and what options the city has in repairing them. The total costs, if it was all contracted, was estimated to be $96,500 for Cass Street and $94,000 for Van Buren Street. It would include new asphalt, storm sewer project and sidewalk/gutter. The city would save money by doing it in phases and completing some with city employees and equipment. The council will investigate the matter further and will decide whether to do it in increments or contract the whole project.
• Stacey Reese, representing the Villages of Van Buren, requested a directional parking sign be erected in front of the Welcome Center informing visitors of additional parking behind the center. The council approved the request. She also requested $200 contribution for the Scenic Drive Festival. Council asked her to use its $5,000 annual contribution to the Villages of Van Buren as part of the Scenic Drive request.
• Kent Rice, representing French-Reneker-Associates discussed Amendment No. 1 to the Engineering Service Agreement for the proposed sewer project. As a result of initial sanitary sewer investigations, it was determined that further investigation was needed via internal video recording of about 6,000 feet of sewer pipe, which was not included in the original scope of services. The fee shall not exceed $10,000. “Too much water is getting into the sanitary sewer,” Rice said. The council approved amending the agreement to include video recording and authorized the mayor to sign.
• Tayt Waibel, Van Buren student, asked the council for permission to replace the backboards on the basketball hoops at the basketball court as a community service project, which would be paid for with fundraiser money. Other students involved will be Tanner Smith and Tyler Runyon, she said. The council approved the request.
• Dick Breckenridge, Library Board member, asked the city pay the repair bill to the library building which resulted when a tree fell on the structure during a recent storm. Cost was $675. City agreed to pay for the repair.
• City Superintendent, Jim Chambers, reported the following:
1. Due to the rain, some of the projects are behind schedule.
2. Posts in the park should be installed by the weekend.
3. Will be starting the storm sewer project on Dodge Street between First and Park Streets.
4. Will be meeting with FEMA the week of June 17th regarding the flooding damage at the ball diamonds and at the end of Market Street along the river.
• Council approved a building permit for Reggie Vadan, subject to her being the owner, for a fence located at 107 Timber Ridge.
• Council approved a building permit for Harold Baker for a deck located at 507 Van Buren Street.
• Jim Chambers discussed the request from Mike Laux asking to install a 12” tube along the front of his property located at 1536 Front Street. The council tabled the request until the July meeting. It would like to see a wider tube so as to handle more water.
• The council approved a building permit for Katie and Richard Nichols for a fence located at 1408 – 8th Street.
• The council approved a building permit with a variance for Brad Davison for a deck located at 211 Oak Street.
• The city will hold a public hearing on July 9 at 4:00 p.m. for on an “Ordinance to Permit All-terrain Vehicles to be Operated on the City of Keosauqua Streets”. The city placed it on its first reading for passage and approval.
• Council appointed Ryan Pedrick to the Library Board.
• Council discussed the re-inspection of sump pumps. No action taken. There are two that need to be checked.
• Jim Chambers discussed the replacement of the sidewalks in the city park. No action taken.
• The council voted to accept a once a year maintenance agreement for the lift station generators from Cummins Central Power and authorized the Mayor to sign.
• The council approved applying for a Community Foundation of Van Buren County grant regarding a community pool project and authorizing the Mayor to sign. The amount of application is $150,000. The plan is to build a new pool on the present site or an alternative site that would be owned by the City of Keosauqua and possibly operated by a management board made up of city and Riverview Club representatives. The projected budget is between $500,000 and $600,000, according to the application. There will be other applications to other foundations and/or grant sources and private and public fundraising.
• The council approved a request by First Street Grille to close streets or parking areas in front of their business with the stipulation that the band playing on September 12, 2013 set up facing the river and cease playing at 12:00 midnight.
• The council approved the Authorization to Close Streets or Parking Areas for the Fourth of July Celebration that the Keosauqua Lions Club sponsors and conducts. Streets closed will be Van Buren Street in front of the Hotel and Front Steet between Van Buren and Cass Streets. These are the same streets as in the past.
• Council approved a cigarette permit for Circle B Market.
• Council discussed charging a fee for special council meetings. No action was taken. The council had considered that unless a special city council meeting had been requested by an elected official or other authorized person, all costs would be paid by the responsible party noted in the initial request.
• Council voted to send a tenant at 1300 First Street a letter regarding a nuisance. No action was taken for the nuisance at 824 Franklin Street. No action taken regarding nuisance at 404 First Street. Council discussed several locations in the city that need sprucing up, but no action was taken.
• No action taken on having porta-potties at the Pearson House.