WATERLOO | The city has acquired two more properties key to development of the Cedar Valley SportsPlex.
City Council members voted 6-1 Monday to buy the former Operation Threshold building, 300 W. Third St., for $400,000. And they voted unanimously to buy a duplex at 217-219 Jefferson St. for $87,000 from BBS Real Estate Holdings.
The Operation Threshold site will be demolished to provide space for an outdoor children's playground and about 20 parking stalls adjacent to the $27.5 million SportsPlex slated to open in late November.
The duplex will also be torn down and incorporated into a new parking lot across the street from the indoor fitness and recreation facility.
Councilman Bob Greenwood voted against buying the Operation Threshold building, noting the nonprofit agency received federal relief dollars after the 2008 flood to help construct a new headquarters in the Rath Brownfields area.
"I don't think it's right for them to get money from two different governments," he said.
Councilman David Jones also questioned the city's investment after learning there were no plans to meter the spaces in the parking lot to recover some of the development costs.
"Pretty expensive parking spaces," Jones said.
The Black Hawk County Assessor's Office lists the assessed value of the Operation Threshold building as $405,960.
While the duplex had an assessed value of $45,730, it sold in October 2012 for $87,000 in a private transaction.
Both properties are being acquired with city general obligation bonds to be repaid with property taxes from the downtown tax-increment financing district.
Community Planning and Development Director Noel Anderson said the buyouts were part of a master plan to develop more parking in the entertainment district involving the SportsPlex, Center for the Arts, Young Arena and other downtown attractions.
Some have questioned the availability of parking for the SportsPlex given the shortages which sometimes occur during competing events at Young Arena and the Center for the Arts.
"There's already 392 (parking) stalls within a 2.5-block area," Anderson said. "Add to that the multiple on-street parking options and the drop-off lane, and we have a good number of stalls available."