Mayor Hopkins to Visit China for Opening of Muscatine Center

City of Muscatine

Muscatine Center 3 Glad Cheng and Daniel Wang of China Window Group LLC plan for the Muscatine Center

On Saturday, Mayor DeWayne Hopkins and his wife, Jill, will travel to China for 10 days to attend the opening of a Muscatine Center. Their trip will serve to strengthen the relationship between Muscatine and China. Glad Cheng and Daniel Wang of China Window Group LLC are opening a Muscatine Center in Jinan, China to encourage Chinese tourism to Muscatine.

When then Vice President (now President) Xi Jin Ping visited Muscatine for his second time in 2012, people in China had Muscatine fresh on their minds. Awareness increased as stories of Xi Jin Ping’s visit sparked interest among the Chinese. Since then, awareness has decreased and Glad and Daniel want to change that.

Glad and Daniel hope to build two or three more Muscatine Centers within China to further their endeavor.

Mayor Hopkins said the Muscatine Center will feature displays…

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Muscatine’s Mississippi Drive Corridor Project

Mississippi Drive Corridor Project:  A complete streets project and signature entryway into the City of Muscatine!

The City of Muscatine, Iowa, is soliciting qualifications from interested engineering firms to provide design services and other related work for the “Mississippi Drive Corridor Reconstruction Project”. This proposal includes the reconstruction of 1.6 miles of U.S. 61-Business (pavement and curb/gutter); street lighting, landscaping, gateway features; pedestrian crossings and sidewalk improvements; traffic signals and geometric improvements; and storm drainage improvements and roadway embankment work intended to improve flood protection. The work would focus on four distinct areas adjoining Muscatine’s Central Business District. The improvement segments include the HNI Campus Area, Downtown Area, High Sidewalk (Bluff) Area and the Carver Corner Area. The objectives for the proposal include meeting the objectives of Muscatine’s complete street policy by improving both Muscatine’s quality of life and image by providing a safe and attractive environment for street users of all ages and abilities such as motorists, pedestrians, bicyclists, mass transit, children, senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, freight carriers, emergency responders and adjacent land users; modernizing U.S. 61-Business through the reconfiguration and reconstruction of the sub-standard, deteriorated roadway; and enhancing aesthetics throughout the corridor that are consistent with Muscatine’s riverfront improvements. Work will include plan development, public meetings, design development, final design, technical specifications and drawings.

Mississippi Drive Corridor Project Request for Qualifications (RFQ)

The following resources provide further background information, technical data, and the potential vision for the Mississippi Drive Corridor Project.  These resources can be found at the following link: http://www.muscatineiowa.gov/941/Mississippi-Drive-Corridor-ProjectMississippi Drive Corridor Study

  • Corridor Alignment and Geometric Alternative Analysis
  • Traffic Analysis Geometric Alternative
  • IA 92 Pavement History Map
  • Mississippi Riverfront Study June 1997
  • Vision for Mississippi Drive
  • Comprehensive Plan
  • Complete Street Policy

The City is currently in the process of selecting an engineering firm to bring this project from concept to reality.

Our first step will be to engage the community, its residents and key stakeholders in a formal public process.

Mississippi Drive Today

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Mississippi Drive Tomorrow?

BZ_MuscatineIA_After

These images were prepared for Muscatine by Dan Burden and the Blue Zones Team.  “Dan Burden provides a framework and action plan for communities to change their environments into safe, walkable, bike-able and livable communities where individuals and businesses thrive.” (http://www.bluezones.com/walkability-3/)

For more information on Blue Zones, Dan Buettner, and Dan Burden’s efforts please see the following link: http://www.bluezones.com

Stayed tuned for more information and please participate!

Muscatine Small Business Forgivable Loan Program

Muscatine’s Small Business Forgivable Loan Program

Ready for you small business to take off?

The City of Muscatine is offering Small Business Forgivable Loans for startup and expansion cost. Businesses can obtain a loan for up to $25,000 for the business at a term of 5 years with 20% of the original loan forgiven annually at the anniversary of the origination of the loan. Funds are allocated up to $15,000 for startup cost and up to $10,000 for code compliance. Businesses receiving funding must be new businesses or be significantly expanding business operations to be eligible. Applicant must meet 1:1 (applicant investment v. grant funding) (may be waived in whole or in part by the City Administrator upon recommendation of the committee). Inventory is not an eligible grant funded expense but does count toward match. The City has allocated $100,000 in funding annually.  Funds will be awarded to qualifying businesses based on availability of funds.  This is a great example of Tax Increment Financing (TIF) at work in our community!

Purpose:  Promote in-fill and redevelopment in targeted areas throughout Muscatine.

Objective:
– Improve Building Infrastructure
– Assist with Capital Equipment Purchases
– Offset Cost of Historic Building Preservation
– Offset Cost to Address ADA Access Issues
– Offset Cost of Fire Code Compliance, Sprinkler Systems, Egress Issues
– Allow Businesses to Allocate Additional Funds to Grow and Expand Business

Program Documents

Application Packet – Small Business Forgivable Loan
Summary
Application
Project Budget Sheet
Sample Agreement
Small Business Forgivable Loan Documents
Downtown Small Business Forgivable Loan District
Park Avenue Small Business Forgivable Loan District
Grandview Small Business Forgivable Loan District

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Supporting small business and downtown revitalization in Muscatine!

For more information:  http://www.muscatineiowa.gov/923/Small-Business-Forgivable-Loan-Program

Here is a summary of forgivable loans to date:

Awards to date:
Home Run Hitters, Baseball & softball pro shop addition, $ 25,000.00
Big River Guns, Gun smithing and firearm sales, $ 16,000.00
Sign Pro, Building improvements and 3D printing, $ 15,000.00
Well Fit Nutrition Bar, Nutritional drinks, product sales and oxygen bar, $ 9,800.00
Rose Bowl, Arcade and laser maze addition to bowling ally, $ 22,350.00
In Process:
Sal Vitale’s Pizzeria, New pizza and pasta restaurant $ 11,850.00
Total $ 100,000.00

Muscatine Building Improvements Loan Program

The City of Muscatine and three local banks, Central State Bank, First National Bank of Muscatine, and Community Bank and Trust, have partnered to launch a new loan program to assist property owners in Muscatine’s downtown to make improvements to their buildings and properties.

The program was born out of the need to stretch grant dollars for a specific downtown project so it could design, construct or upgrade the rear sides of a select few downtown buildings to take advantage of riverfront views that exist.

The local banks are committed to the City of Muscatine’s downtown and have set aside $1,000,000 for this loan program.

Property owners will first work with City of Muscatine staff to detail the improvements to be completed with a building improvement plan. With the City’s approval, applicants can approach the three lending institutions to secure funds for their improvement project. Loans will receive a fixed rate at 1% below prime for the first three years with a variable adjustable rate thereafter for a term no longer than 10 years. The initial district for these loans will run 12 City blocks. The loans will be a minimum of $5,000, and borrowers will still be subject to the banks normal credit standards.

Most improvements are eligible; however, there are some improvements that are ineligible such as no signage, inventory or modifications that take away from the historic character of the property and historic district.

Information and Documents:

Building Improvements Loan Program Documents
Application – Building Improvements Loan Program

For more information and a copy of the district map, please follow this link:  http://www.muscatineiowa.gov/924/Building-Improvements-Loan-Program 

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Let’s continue to make downtown Muscatine a great place to live, work and play!

Muscatine City Code Being Updated

The City of Muscatine has begun a process to update the City Code in 2014.  Following in 2015 will be an update of the 1973 Zoning Ordinance.  City Staff has been working on a rewrite for the past 18 months and will begin the public portion of that review at tonight’s City Council In-Depth (work session).  Tonight’s review will highlight Titles 1, 2, 8, and 9.  We are going a little out of order as our Community Development Director will be retiring shortly.  Over the new 2-3 months, City Staff and Council will continue to highlight the major changes to the City Code at each In-Depth session (August 14th and September 11th).

Now’s the time for the public to comment as well!  Please feel free to attend each of the public meetings or provide you comments below, via email or Facebook (cityadministrator@muscatineiowa.gov)!  We would love to hear your comments and suggestions!

Here is a link to the first four chapter up for review:  http://www.muscatineiowa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/10771

Thanks for participating!

 

 

 

 

2014-2015 City of Muscatine Budget

The preparation of the fiscal year 2014/15 budget (http://www.muscatineiowa.gov/DocumentCenter/View/10708) involved an overall team effort by city staff and City Council. With the continued uncertainty that affects financial conditions in the state and the community, the challenge to continue high levels of service is one that city staff and Council must approach together. Decisions on the level of service to be provided throughout the community have generated and will continue to generate much discussion, especially when financial resources are limited and there is demand for services to be maintained at the same level or increased. The city will continue to look toward cooperative efforts between other governmental agencies in order to provide the best overall level of service to the community as a whole. However, it is important to be realistic in the expectations of the level of services as they match against the financial resources needed to provide for them. At some point the city will have to recognize it cannot provide all of the levels of service that are demanded by its citizens unless additional funding sources are identified to fund the cost of these additional services. Faced with this situation, elected representatives are forced to choose and prioritize levels of service in the community. Given that almost every service the city provides has a constituency base, future decisions are sure to draw criticism from those affected groups. It is unfortunate but it is a fiscal reality that this and other cities will have to grapple with well into the future. With strong leadership from the Mayor and City Council and a commitment to improve the quality of life in the community, the city staff looks forward to working with elected representatives and the citizens of Muscatine.

The above link takes you to the complete budget document for 2014/15, but the following are some of the keys statistics pulled from the budget document:

City of Muscatine Organizational Chart City Tax Levy Rate by Type How are the Funds Used? Tax Rate 10 Year History Where Do Your Property Taxes Go? Where Does the Money Come From?