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Council Bluffs capital improvement program to focus on infrastructure, development

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Repairs to city infrastructure are among the city’s priorities according to the capital improvement program, approved by the Council Bluffs City Council during the Nov. 27 meeting.

The plan for fiscal years 2025 to2029 lists proposed projects, the years in which each project will begin, the estimated cost of each project and how the city intends to pay for them.

“The capital improvement program is kind of a budgeting document for our big capital projects,” Council Bluffs Chief of Staff Brandon Garrett told The Nonpareil. “It’s a five year outlook of what we’re going to be working on.”

The first year of the plan, Fiscal Year 25, is part of the city’s yearly budget, meaning they can be funded, while the other four years are more aspirational.

“Some things have to happen before others, so there’s timing issues, and as we open up the CIP for next year, we’ll say, ‘OK, well, we weren’t able to get this one done in FY25, so we cannot do this other one in FY26, we’ll have to push that back again,” Garrett said.

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In 2025, the city plans to replace or repair the parking lots at Big Lake and Valley View parks as well as the Mid-America Center. The city would continue to rehab the sewer system throughout Council Bluffs, with the majority of funding coming from the local option sales tax.

“There’s nothing that I would describe as really flashy,” Garrett said. “We’re trying to be pretty trim here on what we’re working on. Probably the biggest ticket item, and it involves a variety of funds, would be the East Manawa development.”

The biggest single expenditure for 2025 — $5,350,000 — is the continued planning and development of the East Manawa housing development, the entirety of which will be paid for with a federal Community Development Block Grant, a grant from Iowa West Foundation and American Rescue Plan Act funds.

“I think it is a very unique project, very progressive thinking, to try to have the city facilitate housing that’s much needed,” Garrett said. “And very fiscally responsible, I would say.”

Overall, 2025 city projects are expected to cost more than $30 million in federal and state funding, local tax revenue, general obligation bonds, and grants.

The city’s police, fire and emergency medical departments are also scheduled to receive new vehicles and equipment in 2025.

Looking ahead, the city would like to expand and remodel the Council Bluffs Public Library makerspace, convert the Big Lake Park tennis courts for pickleball and build a new donor plaza at River’s Edge.

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