Council votes unanimously in favor of Veterans Center - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Council votes unanimously in favor of Veterans Center

WAVERLY (KWWL) -- The Waverly City Council is unanimously voting in favor of a special provision for the Waverly Area Veterans Post to build a new structure, replacing the current Veterans of Foreign Wars site. All four local military groups would call the new building home, and the chairperson for the new group believes it's an ideal scenario for everyone.

"It puts us all together. We wore the same uniforms, we all fought for the same causes," said Jim Beam.

But surrounding homeowners don't have the same enthusiasm for the plans. The new structure would also be home to a banquet facility for up to 350 guests, and they're concerned about the effects on the neighborhood.

"We're worried about the children. Quite honestly. There are children that play in that area next to the school regularly," said Augie Waltmann.

Not to mention concerns about noise during big events, and hundreds of cars leaving after they're over.

Monday night, the city council listened to arguments from both sides, and after more than an hour of discussion, it came to a vote. Even the veterans were taken aback with the council's seven-to-zero vote in their favor.

"Very surprised that it was unanimous," noted Beam.

Homeowners are, understandably, not happy with the decision.

"We had really hoped that they would insist that they decrease their square footage," said Waltmann.

But the veterans promise to be good neighbors, and keep families down the block involved in their plans.

"The ball is in their court. If they want to meet, they want to talk, we're going to listen to them," said Beam.

The veterans are actually required to listen to them -- part of the provision from the council requires the neighbors and vets to meet with city staff as the plans move forward. Also, the veterans cannot serve liquor until 45 minutes after the nearby elementary school is dismissed.

The Waverly Area Veterans Post still needs to raise about $3 million for the project. They believe their group will have no problem meeting this goal.

Online Reporter Colleen O'Shaughnessy

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