The first of several potential projects born from a partnership between the City of Manchester and University of Iowa graduate students has been delivered to the Manchester City Council, and one, in particular, is already garnering a lot of interest.
While the students were unable to attend the meeting to present their findings to the council themselves, they did submit documents for three projects, including a Schram Park redesign calling for a 184-foot-long pedestrian bridge to South Brewer Street, an expansion plan for the fire station and a layout for a new highway corridor residential subdivision.
The council’s focus was quickly drawn to the subdivision, as numerous studies over the past several years have pointed to the need for more housing.
Located on Bailey Drive near the intersection with US 20, the potential subdivision is currently a farm field but that could all change if an entity makes some significant investments to bring in infrastructure and new streets.
The land is currently owned by Manchester Enterprises, but City Manager Tim Vick said they don’t have much interest in developing the land themselves. Vick added that he has already spoken to a developer who is showing interest in the project.
Vick said while the city could potentially buy the land and sell the lots themselves, he would prefer partnering with a private developer like they’ve done in the past and provide financial incentives for infrastructure like roads, water and sewer.
The area would also require a lift station, which would likely run somewhere in the $300,000 range.
“So that’s a huge investment upfront before you even get too far down there,” Vick said.
A design provided by the graduate students shows 33 single-family residential lots along with three townhouse lots and four green spaces.
The front four acres near Bailey drive would be an ideal location for a convenience-type store, Vick said, and it would bring in more money as a commercial lot versus a residential lot.
“This subdivision satisfies the immediate need for new lots while establishing the basic infrastructure necessary for long-term growth along the Highway 20 corridor,” project documents state. “The proximity of this development to the highway leads itself to be able to attract travelers coming from Dubuque or Waterloo.”
Any ambitions for the project are likely to remain very fluid until more discussions can be held with Manchester Enterprises and a potential developer.