KALONA — The City of Kalona is continuing to move forward with the annexation of the Shiloh property but has taken the 90,000 square foot building out of the plans.
As previously reported in April 2019, Shiloh requested some of its property be annexed into city limits as they are looking to build a new church after choosing to separate from its legal relationship with the Living Word Fellowship. Annexation is the process of extending city limits to include a specific space. In this case, upon growth and development of the space, as spearheaded by Shiloh, the city would then be responsible for the same maintenance responsibilities it currently enacts- garbage pickup, roads, etc. The city would not take ownership of the property unless it was deeded to the City of Kalona.
City Administrator Ryan Schlabaugh said when the annexation process was first brought to the city’s attention, the building on site was a big contender. Because of the size, the city reached out to multiple local entities to see if there was any interest in occupying portions of the space.
The Mid-Prairie School District expressed interest in possibly starting a preschool on site, but Schlabaugh said after a preliminary analysis of bringing the building up to code, it became clear the financial cost would be too great. He said the city then reconvened and decided to not pursue possibly occupying the building at all.
“We couldn’t drive enough public purpose without some of those key stake holders,” he said.
He said Shiloh employees have auctions set to liquidate the assets inside the building, but because it still belongs to the organization, what happens next will be its call. As for the city, Schlabaugh said it still is working with developers to discuss the land options.
He said 240 acres are up for annexation, between Nutmeg Avenue and 133rd Street. The developer is currently working to see what portions would be best fit for Shiloh and which would be best to possibly be deeded to the city. Using the example of a pie, the land will be divided up and the city will get a piece, but it is not determined how large of a piece, or how much land, the city will get.
He said the goal for Shiloh would be to determine which parts of land would do best for development and sell them for housing lots. He said the goal for the city would be to work with both Shiloh and the developer to, “come to an understanding that parts of the property not utilized for development would be deeded over to the city for the purposes of creating recreational opportunities.”
The annexation inquiry was made in April and is continuing to make its way through the legal system. Schlabaugh said he expects the formal request to come before council within the next couple of months.
“It’s been a unique process but I think everyone’s been moving toward a common goal and worked well together,” he said.