Independence residents set to vote on proposed "city centre" - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Independence residents set to vote on proposed "city centre"

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INDEPENDENCE (KWWL) Voters in Independence will also go to the polls Tuesday to vote on a bond referendum.

If passed, the $1.8 million bond would pay to renovate an old grocery store into an Independence City Centre.

The new centre would house city hall, the chamber of commerce, the police department and the city building department.

Independence City Manager Alan Johnson said the current city hall is too small and inaccessible. He said a new city center will better serve the community.

But some people are opposed to the bond. Some residents think there are better options for the city to find more office spaces.

One of their biggest complaints some residents have is the location. Part of the building is in the flood plain.

"I've been told if it happens, it happens. Nobody can guarantee this property isn't going to flood," said Fred Miller.

Fred Miller and Gary Wilson said it's not practical to spend millions of dollars on a building that could be damaged in a flood.

"What if we got a flood like Cedar Rapids? Who's going pick up the slack? It's gonna be the public," said Wilson.

According to City Manager Alan Johnson, passing the bond will not increase taxes. Instead, the money would be paid out of current TIFF funds.

But Norma Gates said taxpayers will end up paying.

"The cost of operating this building as an 18,000 square food office, you're gonna have more heat, more lights, more utilities," said Gates.

Those opposed to the bond said putting money into the old grocery store will take money from other projects that would better benefit the community.

"What is going to help the downtown? What is gonna help the businesses that are scraping, trying to make a business?" said Wilson.

If the bond doesn't pass, some residents hope the city considers selling the building. If it does pass, the city will take bids for about 30 to 60 days and construction should take nine months to one year.

The polls are open in Independence from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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