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City of Grimes moves forward with potential changes to GrimesPlex project

While the project continues to move forward, the Grimes City Council considered changes to the ownership of the project once it's completed.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Grimes City Council members on Tuesday approved an agenda item impacting the multi-million dollar GrimesPlex. 

The city is partnering with Hope Development & Realty to construct a 50-acre multi-use sports turf complex. In the initial agreement, Hope Development planned to initially own and operate the facility once it was completed. Residents would have access to some of the facility after five years. 

Then in 10 years, the company planned to donate GrimesPlex to the city. 

Under the new plan, Hope Development would immediately donate the GrimesPlex and $12 million to the project. Residents would get access to the facility once construction is complete. The initial plan of using $25 million in tax increment financing to construct the entertainment district remains in place. 

"Which means that the city would administer the construction of the facility and finance a portion of it, but then benefit from owning it on day one," said Grimes City Administrator Jake Anderson. "Which means sooner access for the residents of Grimes and for our parks and rec programs."

An independent third-party estimates cost construction at around $19.5 million.

That leaves Grimes responsible for financing $7.5 to $8 million to finish the project, something it plans to absorb by taking on debt. City leaders say analysis show the anticipated revenue generated from the facility will cover the annual payment associated with this debt. 

Additional revenues generated above and beyond the annual debt service can be used for future enhancements or reserve funds for capital replacements. 

"Some of the analysis that we had done by a third party demonstrated that would be in year one an $11 million economic impact for our community," Anderson said. "We really view the sports complex as an economic engine that's going to bring the types of development to the community that we've heard from the residents that they want. So more restaurants and movie theaters and hotels, entertainment venues."

"That'll happen within the Hope Entertainment District as a result of the sports tourism that's brought to town by the facility."

The action council members took this week authorizes some engineering and legal work that will be brought back to the council for further discussion and a final decision at a later date. GrimesPlex is expected to be completed in about one and a half years, but if construction starts soon, some multi-purpose sports fields could be finished later this year.

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