IOWA CITY – The City Council Tuesday night took the initial steps to bring into the city land where two elementary schools are to be built.
The City Council voted unanimously on four different items to annex land on Sycamore Street and on American Legion Road and to rezone the properties to allow for public schools to be built.
The Sycamore Street site is 15.78 acres near the intersection with Daniel Place southeast of the city.
The American Legion Road property is on 15.14 acres near the intersection with Barrington Road east of town.
The Iowa City school board voted this past summer to buy the properties. They are part of a $258 million facilities plan the district plans to implement over the next decade.
The school board may vote next week on a timeline for the projects, and in the current version has the Sycamore Street school opening in fall 2015 and the American Legion Road school in fall 2019.
Mayor Matt Hayek praised the plans for the first elementary schools feeding into City High to be built in decades.
“This is a very positive development for the city,” he said.
The district also plans to build another elementary school in land annexed by Coralville and a high school near North Liberty on property that would be annexed into that town. The North Liberty City Council last week discussed getting utilities and infrastructure out to that site.
The rezoning votes by the Iowa City Council Tuesday night were the first of three needed to make the action final.
The Sycamore Street rezoning and annexation includes 29 acres that are not part of the school site.
Council member Jim Throgmorton raised concerns that the areas around both future schools would be developed with large lots, curling streets and generally in way not compatible with the city’s goal of creating walkable neighborhoods.
Other council members said that was a discussion for another time.