FOREST CITY | City officials offered updates on a number of projects – including the new hotel coming to town, plans for a new library and new businesses – during a Meet and Greet on Jan. 26.
The event, designed to give the public a chance to interact with city officials and learn about what's going on in town, was held at Forest Plaza.
The city plans to hold more Meet and Greets in the future.
Kwik Star to be built
A Kwik Star convenience store hopefully will be built at the junction of U.S. Highways 9 and 69 on the former K-Way site this year, according to city officials.
“It will be quite the addition to the city,” said Forest City Mayor Barney Ruiter, noting the gas station will get a lot of business from all the truck traffic on the two highways.
Kwik Star purchased the K-Way property more than a year ago and demolished the building.
City Administrator Barb Smith said the city approved Kwik Star’s initial plans to build a store there, but company officials then decided they needed more room.
Kwik Star has reached an agreement to purchase 2.2 acres of land from Pritchard Family Auto Stores, so hopefully the revised plans can be presented to the city soon, according to Smith.
She said Kwik Star will try to get the Forest City store on its construction schedule for this year. If there’s a delay, the store will be built next year instead.
“Kwik Star didn’t ask (the city) for anything,” Smith said, noting the company will be paying for relocation of water and storm sewer lines.
New hotel will be Cobblestone
The Cobblestone Hotel chain plans to build a hotel at the site of the former Forest City Motel.
Smith said Cobblestone is working with a major investor on the project.
The company’s website states Cobblestone offers upper-midscale hotel accommodations across the United States and is the fastest-growing hotel chains in the Midwest.
Smith said Cobblestone only wants three of the six acres of the old motel property, so some of the rest will be available for retail development.
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She also said some land near the cemetery has potential for housing, including active adult housing, an age-targeted or an age-restricted community usually designed for people age 55 or older.
New library in 3-5 years
The city could have a new library in three to five years, according to Smith.
In November the city purchased the former Forest City Foods building with plans to renovate it as the new home for the library, which is currently located right next to it.
The former grocery store site has 9,000 square feet of space available, while the library’s current location is 4,400 square feet. Smith said having a bigger building will allow the library more room for things such as children’s programs.
“We’ve got a very good library right now,” Smith said. “It will be a great library when it moves.”
The city plans to hire a professional fundraiser before starting a capital campaign that would take several years, Smith said.
When asked what the current library would be used for once the new one opens, Smith said a group of residents and city officials is being formed to make that decision.
She said there’s lots of options for the building because it doesn’t have any outside steps, unlike City Hall which is located next to it.
Two of the possible options include relocating the City Council Chambers or the City Clerk’s office there to provide greater accessibility for the public, according to Smith.
New restaurants to open
The city has lost several of its restaurants recently, but new ones will be opening soon – some of them at the former restaurant sites.
Main Street Pizza in Lake Mills has purchased the Forest City Hardees, which closed in late 2017, with plans to open a new restaurant serving chicken and pizza, according to Smith.
New owners have also bought the Sum Hing restaurant, which closed in late 2018.
Smith said the building is being remodeled, and when it reopens it will still serve Chinese food. However, the menu will be somewhat different.
The owners of Ay Jalisco plan to open a second restaurant next door that will serve specialty burgers, according to Smith. She said they are taking their time with it because they want to do it right.