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Region 6 Housing Trust may act in Iowa Juvenile Home transfer

Under Study - Await Attorney’s Review

February 7, 2018
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

View a video clip of the meeting discussion:

Transfer of the 27-acre Iowa Juvenile Home / State Training School for Girls campus in Toledo from state ownership to a private developer took a preliminary step in that direction at a meeting Tuesday, Jan. 30, in Marshalltown.

Eight members of the Region 6 Housing Trust Fund Board who were present gave a voice vote approval to continue to explore if they can act as the conduit for the exchange.

Article Photos

Jim Hobart (standing, right) answers questions about the Hobart Historic Restoration proposal for reuse of the Iowa Juvenile Home / State Training School for Girls campus in Toledo before the Region 6 Housing Trust Board on Tuesday morning, Jan. 30. Board members seated, from left, are Don Snider, Donna Sampson (Housing Trust Fund staff), Gordon Canfield, Gary Glandon, Heath Kellogg, Michelle Spohnheimer, Connie Allen, and Penny Price. Members not present - Linn Adams, and Kelly Smith. The meeting was held in the Marshalltown City Council Chambers. Chronicle/John Speer

"Very exciting," Gordon Canfield, Grinnell, the board chair, termed the possibility of re-purposing the IJH campus into multiple-use housing as proposed by Hobart Historic Restoration of Cedar Rapids.

Jim Hobart told the members it would be acceptable if an actual transfer date of June 1 could be established. Paul Peglow, board attorney, said he would further check the status of the board and advise them of its possible role in such a transaction.

Hobart Restoration has proposed the state gift the property to the firm. A stumbling block to the process has been reported state nor city government is allowed to transfer property which is not sold at market or appraised value.

It apparently may be transferred to another agency however, under state law and that is where the Trust Fund Board enters the picture.

Initially the City of Toledo and then Tama County, were asked to ask as the pass-through agency.

Tama attorney Allan Richards voiced concerns at the Tuesday meeting about any deal the Trust Fund Board could make. He charged, "You're a quasi-government agency, it's open to legal challenge."

"If he offers a dollar, I'll offer two dollars," Richards said. "I'll put kids back in it."

Hobart told the board his company has developed plans for conversion of the existing main building and cottages for senior living, extended care and for use of the property for apartments and single-family residences.

Marty Wymore, Region 6 Planning commission executive director, said "a rock solid development agreement" would be part of the requirements if the board were to enter the picture.

Heath Kellogg, Tama County Economic Development executive director and a member of the Region 6 Housing Trust Fund Board, told of the extensive contacts made in the midwest to generate interest in the property since the state closed the facility in January, 2014.

He said "location" had been a factor in developing interest.

However, Kellogg pointed to the need for housing in the area and the shortage in the Tama-Toledo area.

Members of the Region 6 Housing Trust Fund Board are Tama County- Heath Kellogg, Tama Co. Economic Development, and Kelly Smith, The State Bank of Toledo, both of Toledo; Marshall County- Michelle Spohnheimer, Housing and Community Development Dept. director for City of marshalltown and Connie Allen, branch manager, Great Western Bank; Poweshiek County- Gordon Canfield and Gary Glandon, both listed as private citizens and both of Grinnell; Hardin county- Penny Price, realtor, Iowa Falls and Linn Adams, Hardin County Community Services; and Regional- Don Snider, Mid-Iowa Community Action.



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