AMES, Iowa- The City of Ames has begun construction on a new $4 million plaza across Clark Street from City Hall. In order to use this parking lot, the city has paved a new parking lot northwest of City Hall.

“The City Council had a vision of a downtown Plaza,” said  Corey Mellies, who is overseeing this project for the city. “We obviously own this lot, it was city parking lot so they decided to build a kind of a year-round amenity.” 

The project is part of a comprehensive downtown plan, which also includes a large housing development between Lincolnway and the railroad tracks. Hundreds more people could be living downtown in a few years.

“It was kind of part of the urban renewal application we had that included this area a big development along Lincoln Way, in the new indoor swimming pool.”

The City Council is still working out details of the new indoor swimming pool. The former city pool was shared with Ames High School. It was torn down when Ames High moved into a new building.

The project will include a splash fountain for the summer and in the winter the space can be transformed for ice skating.

“We hope to have everything completed by June of next year, this winter we had a requirement they will have to test the ice so we don’t have to wait a year because we’ll be able to make ice in this area it won’t depend on the weather, as much,” said Mellies. “We’ll be able to have the chillers installed to be run kind of as part of our park system so they might have staffing to rent skates for the winter.”