Clear Lake City Council approves sale of $1.3 million in bonds for inclusive playground project

CLEAR LAKE — The Clear Lake City Council last night approved awarding the sale of $1.3 million in general obligation urban renewal bonds to use for a new park on property formerly owned by Cerro Gordo County.  The county sold the property at 109 South 15th Street to the city last February. It’s being redeveloped into an inclusive playground that provides children and adults of all ages and abilities the opportunity to play together.

Manufacturers Bank and Trust of Clear Lake had the low bid for the bond at 1.85%. City Administrator Scott Flory says Clear Lake is taking advantage of having a good financial standing with the low rate.  “Even though the rates were competitive between the two banks,  obviously, a tenth of a percent separating MBT and Clear Lake Bank & Trust, but again, I looked at some other communities that are going to market here in the next couple of weeks, and they’re projecting well into the upper 2s% into their borrowing situations. Even though it was more than what we had anticipated, as Chip indicated, interest rates are definitely on the rise, and the overall situation with the economy definitely impacted that, but I’m glad we went to market when we did and not later.”

Councilman Bennett Smith says the latest report on the city’s good financial standing by Northland Public Finance, who assisted as the placement agent for this bond sale, helped the city get such a good deal.  “I think it’s really amazing that we’re the only city that he’s aware of in the state of Iowa with a weighted average debt percentage or coupon rate of under 1%. I think that’s just something I want to emphasize for the public that it reflects in my mind a considerable degree of prudence on the part of our staff and council and mayor, and again, very impressive.”

The council has discussed a possible budget of about $1.9 million for the project, with the remaining project costs being financed by general funds and cash donations.