Fairfield Ledger

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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 19, 2018

City plans West Tyler extension

By Andy Hallman, Ledger news editor | Mar 13, 2018
Photo by: IMAGE COURTESY OF MATT WALKER The map above shows the planned extension of West Tyler Avenue south of TrafFix Devices, which built a 68,000-square-foot expansion last year. The extension will make it easier for the company to get its semis in and out, and will accommodate future developments on the west side of town.

The Fairfield City Council accepted a bid Monday to extend West Tyler Avenue 800 feet, which will connect it to TrafFix Devices.

The winning bid was $273,721 from Hickey Contracting Corp. of Keokuk. Hickey just edged Fairfield contractor Drish Construction Inc, which bid $279,265.

Councilor Tom Thompson wondered if Drish Construction’s bid was close enough to the low bid that the council could accept it instead, since it’s a local company. City Engineer Melanie Carlson said the council may do that if the local contractor is within 1 percent of the lowest bid for formal bids. Drish just missed the cutoff by being a little over 2 percent higher than the low bid.

The money for the road won’t come from the city’s general fund. TrafFix Devices added a 68,000-square foot expansion last year. The city and company entered into a tax increment financing agreement whereby a portion of TrafFix’s taxes (specifically a portion of the new taxes on the improved portion of the land) would pay for the improvements such as the extension to West Tyler and building a water line and sanitary sewer below it. No other taxes will be used to pay for those improvements.

Matt Walker, vice president of French-Reneker-Associates, explained that TrafFix is interested in the extension because it will make life easier for truck drivers. The business is on a dead end of West Jackson Avenue, so truckers have to back up into a parking lot to turn around on an already congested street. Once West Tyler is extended, they will be able to turn from Jackson onto Tyler without backing up.

TrafFix’s expansion was built on three parcels of land totaling 27 acres the company purchased from Fairfield Economic Development Association between 2014 and 2016. FEDA owns 24 acres south of TrafFix that its executive director Joshua Laraby said will be more inviting for development once West Tyler is extended. FEDA also donated 1.29 acres of its right-of-way, valued at about $50,000, to the West Tyler extension project.

The city expects to have all infrastructure finished by Sept. 30.

The other major road project the city will work on is paving 2,700 feet of 227th Street in the New Fairfield South Business and Industrial Park. This is a joint project between the city and county. They received a pair of grants, one from Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy (RISE) and the other from Urban-State Traffic Engineering Program (U-STEP).

The two grants will cover 50 percent of the project cost, and the other half will be split evenly between the city and county.

In addition to paving a portion of 227th, the project adds a left-turn lane for southbound traffic on Highway 1.

“The pavement of 227th and the addition of this turn lane will provide better access to any development on FEDA ground in the south industrial park,” said Carlson.

Fairfield’s city council and the Jefferson County Board of Supervisors signed an agreement in 2016 to each contribute $78,000 toward a shell building on 227th Street in the industrial park.

“We’re hoping to hear something [about the funding] in late spring,” Laraby said.

Carlson added that the Iowa Department of Transportation has expressed a desire to move its regional offices to 227th Street.

The planned spec building will be 30,000 square feet and located near the Iowa Department of Transportation’s office. It would be a single-story skeletal structure, which could either be rented or sold at the time of its completion.

Laraby said the building will have a gravel floor with basic lighting and a few exhaust fans. To top it off, 1,400 feet of sewer infrastructure was also added to the 55-acre business and industrial park.


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