CLEAR LAKE — Civic and economic development leaders this week showed their support for the Courtway Park subdivision project on Clear Lake’s east side, which includes a proposed $16 million hotel, restaurant and conference center.
The Courtway Park area, which is owned by Lorri and Todd Hall of Sheffield, consists of 11 lots on 64 acres of land east of Interstate 35 and north of State Highway 122, on land that previously was occupied by Andrews Prestressed Concrete.
North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corporation CEO Chad Schreck says it’s an exciting opportunity for the city and the north-central Iowa region. “It certainly fits in with the goals and priorities that we’ve set certainly at the council level, but also in our larger Vision North Iowa program. One of the common themes of that and concerns we heard was the entryways into our community needed to be updated, improved, and beautified, and that was one of the primary ones. The work that’s been done, the investment to date in that, that laid the groundwork for all this work that can come now is just incredible, and we’re excited to see where it goes.”
Schreck says he’s looking forward to seeing what Courtway Park can do to catalyze future growth in the community. “We also had an opportunity to meet with the Iowa Economic Development Authority’s marketing director a few weeks ago, and they really laid out what they did to determine what helps get people convinced to move to an area. One of the primary ways was that they visited a community. That opened them up to the opportunity to potentially move to an area. The more things we can do that will attract people and the more things we do that show them, get people here to see what we’ve got to offer, the better opportunities we have to convince them to stay and to live here long-term.”
Councilman Jim Boehnke says he can’t wait to see the potential possibilities that could develop in the subdivision. “I think it will spurn more potential people coming into the area there. If we all could have a crystal ball, and we were able to look out how many ever years we wanted to, I think we’re going to find a really, really exciting time.”
Councilman Mike Callanan says the placement of Kwik Star just east of the interstate showed the potential for economic growth on the community’s eastern side. “The Kwik Star property with the intersection I think was really step one. Without that intersection, it would have been very difficult to develop the Hall property on the north side there. The city in the development agreement with Kwik Star was a partner in the development of that stoplight and intersection turn lanes and then the road, and here we are, and it’s exciting times.”
Councilman Bennett Smith says it’s a transformative project that hopefully will not only produce a number of projects but capture some hotel traffic that is being lost to other communities. “Frankly, we really do need new hotels. We have not had a new hotel here in quite some time. The study that we looked at — we have some folks that are corporate travelers and other business people that are here to see some of our business folks, and we might be losing them to other communities, so I think it really is a need that we have.”
The City Council will consider a development agreement for the hotel and conference center either at their next meeting on October 21st or at a special meeting prior to that date.