PACIFIC JUNCTION - Around 100 landowners and curious Mills County residents came to A&M Greenpower Thursday night, Feb. 16, to learn more about a proposed master plan for development along the Interstate 29 - Highway 34 interchange west of Glenwood.
The interchange will undergo major reconstruction over the coming months as part of the $140 million Highway 34 - Missouri River bridge project, expected to be completed in 2014.
Over the past year, the Mills County Board of Supervisors has been working closely with the Glenwood / Mills County Economic Development Foundation and JEO Consulting Group in developing an Interstate 29 - Highway 34 master plan for 5,500 acres of property in the vicinity of the interchange.
JEO business development manager Rick Allely said a conceptual overlay created for the area allows for a wide range of potential development opportunities, ranging from commercial and retail space to restaurants and motels.
“Economic Development (Foundation) wants to make sure the corridor remains the gateway to Mills County,” Allely said.
Economic Development Foundation representative Larry Winum said the purpose of Thursday’s meeting was to give landowners in the area an update on the master plan and to discuss the potential for future development.
“It was really set up to be an informational meeting for landowners. We want to keep the landowners updated and make sure they have accurate information,” Winum said. “With the overlay district, we're just trying to plan for the future and make sure any development that takes place is planned and something we’d all be proud of. We want it to be an attractive, mixed-use area.”
Winum said it was important to assure landowners that nobody will be forced to sell their property in the name of economic development, noting the practice is prohibited by Iowa’s eminent domain laws. However, he added there could be potential opportunities for landowners who do have an interest in selling property.
“We’ve heard from some landowners who are interested in selling,” Winum said. “If they’re interested, we’d sure like to talk to them. If they’re not interested, we want to talk to them to keep them informed of what’s taking place.”
Winum said years of study and planning have gone into making the Highway 34 - Missouri River project become a reality and the county needs to have a solid development plan in place once the project is completed.
“It’s taken a long time to get where we are right now,” Winum said. “Now, we’re asking, what can we do once the bridge goes through?”
Mills County residents can view and download a copy of the master plan for the I-29/Highway 34 interchange area via the economic development link on the Glenwood Area Chamber of Commerce website.