New Waterloo bank location creates controversy - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New Waterloo bank location creates controversy

WATERLOO (KWWL)--- A new bank will soon be built in downtown Waterloo.  But where that bank is going has some other area business owners upset. 

Farmer's State Bank is planning to expand its operations to include a new branch downtown.  But the bank is set to built over top of a city-owner parking lot.  And that stirred a heated discussion at Monday's city council meeting. 

The bank is set to be built at the corner of West 6th Street at Jefferson Avenue.  It's a place that Farmer's hopes will allow it to better serve the community.

"We're just expanding into a downtown location where we can better serve our downtown customers and hopefully new customers as well," said the CEO of Farmer's State Bank.

But bank executives didn't expect their expansion plans to draw a packed house at Monday's council meeting.  Many of those in attendance were concerned about not having a say in the bank's building plans.

"We want a great, pleasant, exciting downtown.  But we want to get there in, I guess, the most logical manner.  We want to make sure everybody's heard and no one's surprised," said an official with the Main Street Waterloo organization.

A handful of other downtown businesses, who didn't want to go on camera with KWWL, did express their concerns to the council about precious parking spaces on the new bank site.  But the bank has a plan to help take care of that.

Construction plans call for the new building to cover about 50 parking spots.  But the bank will be adding more than two dozen spots in its new parking lot, and it will allow area bars and restaurants to use those spaces at night.

Two council members did suggest tabling a vote on the bank's plans.  But that motion was soundly defeated.  So a second motion was made, and approved, to allow Farmer's State Bank to move ahead with building its new branch.

Another concern raised was that the city is selling the lot to Farmer's for just $1.  But city officials say that's not unusual.  It's just an incentive that's available to get businesses to move downtown.

KWWL Reporter: Kera Mashek

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