WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Another Delay for Mega-Site Vote

Apr 1, 2014

The Lee County Board of Supervisors is still not ready to make a decision on a hefty contribution for an economic development project.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors

The board delayed action on the Lee County Economic Development Group’s request for $100,000 for the second year in a row.

The money would help pay for environmental and archeological studies on about 2,700 acres of land near Wever, which is owned by one family.

Supervisor Gary Folluo says he supports the development of an industrial mega-site, but he opposes the use of county money.

"(I) think it is important that the owner of the property has buy-in for this," says Folluo, "because obviously they are going to be the ultimate end receiver.”

It is estimated that the owner of the mega-site could receive more than $60-million if the entire property is sold for industrial use.

LCEDG Director Steve Bisenius says if this property becomes a certified mega-site, the state of Iowa will help market it to potential industries around the world.

He says the property owner has agreed to a set of sale conditions that will remain in place for two years.  After that, new prices and terms could be offered.

Several supervisors felt two years was much too short a timeline, so they proposed 8-10 years.

LCEDG says it is working on a tight timeline to complete the studies, so it will try to address the board’s concerns as quickly as possible.

This phase is expected to cost $275,000.  LCEDG plans to also seek funding from the Fort Madison Economic Development Corporation and the Southeast Iowa Regional Riverboat Commission.