MUSCATINE, Iowa – City workers in Muscatine are focusing on developing a vacant corner in the center of Muscatine.
The corner is called “Carver Corner” and is along Business US 61 in Muscatine at the intersection of Green Street and Hershey Street.
Owner John Morford of “A Guy and A Grill” has had his catering business across the street from the lot the past 11 years. Currently, it’s a view his customers have to look at while they chow down on BBQ.
“Dust everywhere, piles of rock, they are in and out with dump trucks,” Morford describes. “It’s been basically a construction site for the past three years.”
“It would be nice to see something a little more scenery friendly here,” says one of the cooks.
The seven-acre vacant lot looks like a green baseball diamond, and it’s what Jodi Royal-Goodwin – the city’s community development manager – is calling the final piece to a Muscatine puzzle.
“It’s probably the last developable section of land within the City of Muscatine that is on the river,” Royal-Goodwin explains.
While the rest of downtown Muscatine has built up over the years, the Carver Corner has sat vacant for seven.
“We really started in the past year to look at “Request for Proposals” and who are we going to partner with to make this really happen,” says Royal-Goodwin.
The city reached out to about 70 developers to submit proposals this summer to build a commercial space with apartments and retail. In the end, they received one proposal, which they say they will consider.
“It’s a big plot of land with a big number of developments,” Royal-Goodwin says. “I mean, it’s going to take a lot of money to build anything of substance here.”
If the city doesn’t move forward with the proposal, it’s back to the drawing board. And it’s back to cooks at “A Guy and a Grill” serving up the dusty view.
“Any kind of development is better than nothing,” Morford points out.
A decision on the one proposal submitted has not been determined yet. They will discuss that at the next council meeting.
Some people have told the city they’d rather see greenspace along that section of the riverfront. They city says that would add $100,000 a year in maintenance costs.