March 26, 2015
Audubon County Economic Development is reaching out to join efforts with other economic development organizations as it seeks to improve roads, add housing and recruit new business to the area.
These partnering organization include Midwest Partnership, Cass County’s Valley Business Park along I-80, and Region XII Council of Governments.
In the Audubon Industrial Park, land has been purchased and infrastructure can be further developed as business are found to fill the park, ACED administrator Margee Schaffer said.
Recent work with Region XII has included the pursuit of Revitalize Iowa’s Sound Economy (RISE) grants to focus on road improves. Discussion on road upgrades has included a focus on access to two of the county’s largest employers—Puck Custom Enterprises and AMVC Veterinary Services, Shaffer said.
AMVC cut the ribbon on a new 17,316 square-foot facility in Audubon in September. The company, which has been providing small- and large-animal veterinary services, nutritional services, farm management and gene transfer services for more than 40 years, employs 500 individuals, including 14 veterinarians. It manages roughly 100,000 sows and an “ever-growing” cattle population across eight states, said veterinarian Bob Blomme.
AMVC’s Audubon headquarters received four expansions before the new facility was built.
Work continues on construction of three new duplexes in an Audubon County Economic Development housing project, Shaffer said.
The project began three years ago when economic-development leaders located five properties, most with vacant homes. They worked with the city and county to take possession of lots owned due to delinquent taxes and purchased the remainder, including one additional lot.
The economic development group’s initial investment was boosted by contributions from local businesses—ACED matched $10,000 contributions from AMVC< Audubon State Bank and Landmands Bank. As the project progressed, the businesses each contributed an additional $20,000. These funds were used to remove asbestos, pay dozing and landfill fees and pour new foundations.
The Audubon Fire Department burned the houses down, providing training for firefighters while saving the economic development group the cost of demolition, said Brett Irlmeier, representative of ACED, Midwest Partnership EDC and Audubon State Bank.
AMVC paid to truck the dirt away from the site for use under its new facility, which opened in September—the “win-win” element is typical of much o4 the cooperation from local companies and entities volunteering time or materials to the project, Irlmeier said.
The first duplex is slated for completion this spring. It will offer 2,400 square feet of living space—1,220 feet on the main level and a two-car garage.
The new construction has the potential to boost property values in the neighborhood.
Recreation, childcare and education are also important as Audubon works to attract residents Shaffer said.
More than half the fundraising is finished for proposed $2.2 million Audubon Recreation Center that will include not only fitness space, but also an eight-lane bowling alley and a restaurant.
Organizers of a proposed 45-slot child care facility, The Children’s Next, hope to be enrolling children by the end of the year.
Organizers will lease space for the child care facility on the Friendship Home’s second floor. The child care center will help fill a 20 percent shortage of child care slots across the county. Audubon County Early Childhood Organization president Kate Hargens said.
The Audubon Community School District has also been working to update its facilities. It will complete renovation of its elementary building this summer. The classrooms have been virtually untouched since the facility was built in 1952, said superintendent Brett Gibbs. But once construction is finished, the rooms will have new lighting, doors, ceilings and floors. The school will also have remodeled administrative offices and bathrooms.
The school will also replace its field lights and football-field bleachers this summer. The board also has plans to upgrade the school’s weatherized track, Gibbs said.
Courtesy of Daily Times Herald, Progress Edition, 3/26/15.