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Webster Co. sups support a ‘business incubator’

Approve change orders for ongoing LEC project

March 30, 2011
By LINDSEY MUTCHLER Messenger staff writer

A business incubator, change orders to the law enforcement center and eminent domain to replace a bridge topped the list of action items for the Webster County Board of Supervisors Tuesday meeting.

Cindy Litwiller spoke to the board on behalf of the Mid Iowa Growth Partnership which hopes to establish a mobile incubator in the county.

It is a support system for startup companies, Litwiller said, specifically for businesses with less than 15 employees and less than $1 million in sales.

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Supervisors meeting

"Since we're nine counties, we're looking to have one business in each of the nine counties that we can be supporting by way of software, laptops, computers that type of thing," Litwiller said. "So we're looking for a letter of support, no financial assistance at all."

The nine-county organization is working to obtain a grant. Litwiller said there's approximately $12,000 of a larger grant the group will set aside for the program.

Supervisor Bob Singer said the incubator is really research and development that will bring new ideas to the table and bring businesses to the area.

"It really is something that's been talked about for years but nothing's ever been done, that I'm aware of, on a scale like this," Singer said. "I think they're on the right track. I think that the little amount to be invested here maybe has a great return for us. I really salute the partnership for embracing this."

Litwiller added that Mid Iowa Growth Partnership is applying for the grant in conjunction with the Small Business Development Center.

The board unanimously approved signing a letter of support for the project.


The board also unanimously approved two change orders related to the first phase of the Law Enforcement Center project.

There was a net decrease of $31,992 due to work that won't be done on the fourth floor exercise area.

The board also approved an addition of $6,247 for:

The new total for the contract is $2,782,363, including the recently approved and previous change orders.

Jensen Builders bid the contract at $2,769,276 in October. The project architect, Haila Architecture, had estimated the project would cost $2.8 million.

The first phase of the project is being paid for in part by an $1.9 million I-Jobs grant awarded to the county. The board passed a bond resolution for $7.5 million to pay for the rest of the project, including repairs to third floor jail. The money will paid back with local option sales tax receipts over 20 years.

Eminent domain

In other business, the board unanimously approved the use of eminent domain to acquire the right-of-way requirements for a bridge replacement project over the south branch of Lizard Creek.

Webster County Engineer Randy Will said the bridge was closed April 9, 2010, due to severe decay making it unsafe.

Will said the county has been in negotiations with landowners and obtained two parcels, but haven't been able to come to an agreement on the last one. He said the last parcel of land needed is a half an acre.

The process to rebuild the bridge has been ongoing for three years, Will said.

"In order to meet the deadline to get this let, this is one of the few options we have," Will said. "Even if we proceed with this option, parties can agree at anytime and this option could be stopped. I recommend you proceed with motion."

Will said he and board members have been approached by people in the area requesting a new bridge be built.

Contact Lindsey Mutchler at (515) 573-2141 or



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