New business in Cedar Rapids? PTA hopes not - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New business in Cedar Rapids? PTA hopes not

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

The city of Cedar Rapids has introduced incentives to bring new businesses to town, but in January the city council denied a plan to build a new Kum & Go location.

The company is trying again to open a new store in Cedar Rapids but they're hitting roadblocks along the way.

The PTA at McKinley Middle School doesn't want the building in their backyard.

The city's planning commission approved a new store at the old Crescent Electric Supply Company building at Mt. Vernon Rd. and 14th Street.

But the Cedar Rapids School Board filed an appeal, opposing the message the store sends to students.

"Kum & Go is able to sell hard liquor, alcohol, tobacco products and junk foods right next to where we have over 600 middle school aged students," said John Laverty, Cedar Rapids School Board President.

The McKinley PTA wrote a letter endorsing the school board's position, fearing Kum & Go would be a distraction to students.

Others worry about safety.

"It's a very bad set of intersections," said Kathy Ulrich, Concerned Community Member.  "In the last five years, according to the traffic study I got from the city traffic engineer, there have been a total of 32 accidents."

Not everyone is against Kum & Go coming in. In fact, one local business owner hopes they open the new location.

"Since Crescent Electric moved out, I've had two automobiles broken into, our neighbors had one burned completely down," said Randal Koranda, Borst Upholstering Owner.  "If Kum & Go came in here it would clean up this property."

Kum & Go officials also believe a new store would benefit the community.

"Our new store will bring new jobs and an investment of approx. $4.0 million, and the jobs that come with it, to the local economy," said Senior Vice President of Marketing David Miller.

Because the Cedar Rapids School Board filed an appeal, the matter goes to Cedar Rapids city council for discussion.

The school board plans to speak out against the proposal at the next council meeting on September 25th.

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