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Marty O'Boyle, Eldridge Mayor

O'Boyle

With continued housing growth and new and expanded industry, Eldridge is embarking on some major road and recreational projects to serve the growing population. 

That was the message Thursday from Mayor Marty O'Boyle during the City Update Breakfast, hosted by the North Scott Chamber. 

O'Boyle and Assistant City Administrator James Martin detailed a list of city accomplishments from new businesses to the creation of a city rental inspection program, upcoming road and trail construction projects and the long-awaited YMCA.

The city saw 28 housing starts in 2018, or about half of what it had in 2013 when the housing boom peaked. Rising interest rates and uncertainty from the tariffs situation "may have given people pause," he added. 

But he told the crowd of nearly 30 business and chamber leaders gathered at Grand Haven Retirement Center, Eldridge, how the city has maintained a stable property tax rate for 12 years. "We're not raising your taxes," he said attributing increases to a state-mandated re-evaluation about four years ago. "We're able to hold the line because of our growth."

Other highlights included: 

  • Business growth — Lewis Machine & Tool, or LMT, will be bringing about 125 jobs to its new nearly $7 million facility when it opens in the coming weeks, Martin said. He added that 50 of the jobs will be high-quality jobs with an hourly rate of $18.75 that will make the company eligible for state incentives, including training assistance. 

"LMT designed the building for a future expansion of about 60,000 square feet," he said.

Eagle Engineering, which has been acquired by Eckhart, also is looking to double the size of its footprint, Martin said. 

  • Road projects — O'Boyle updated the group on the reconstruction planned for the intersection of 1st and LeClaire Road. Other projects including resurfacing Slopertown Road and an extension of Black Hawk Trail Road into a proposed industrial park area. 
  • Recreation — An extension of the bike path in the railroad corridor was delayed six month "after a snafu" with the city's paperwork to the Iowa Department of Transportation, Martin said. Engineering now is expected to begin in the fall with construction in spring of 2020. In addition, new soccer fields at Buttermilk Park should be ready by next spring.
  • Rental inspection program — the city launched a new program to cover all residential rental property. Landlords pay a fee of $10 for two years. But the nuisance fee was increased from $150 to $700, which Martin said puts it in line with the state standard. "What we really care about is the habitual offenders," he added. 
  • YMCA — Plans for a new Y are progressing and can move into a detailed discussion about funding with the state's passage of the SAVE Fund, O'Boyle said. The $12 million project will be a partnership between the city, the Scott County Family YMCA and North School schools.

"We haven't figured out where we're going to be with our support as a city," he said. "This is going to take community support, not just Eldridge but all of the North Scott area." 

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