Iowa West reconsiders $9 million donation

Posted at 6:30 PM, Mar 24, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-24 19:36:40-04

The Iowa West Foundation is reconsidering their $9 million commitment to the west Broadway streetscape project after the Council Bluffs City Council voted to remove medians from the plan.

Iowa west sent an email to council members Wednesday, saying that because they weren't informed of changes, they have to reconsider their involvement with the $35 million project.

"I was a bit disappointed by the tone, but I do appreciate the fact that they do have a financial stake in this question,” said Council Member Al Ringgenberg. “I'm perfectly interested and happy to have a dialog with them."

Ringgenberg was one of three who voted for taking medians out of the reconstruction plan last week.

That plan includes installing water and sewer mains, a storm drainage system and beautification of Broadway from the interstate to 16th.

The Iowa West Foundation agreed to fund the project after the master plan was approved last year, which included medians.

"We were hopeful that regardless of medians or no medians they'd be more than willing to fund the project,” said Council Member Melissa Head. “They would see that medians are such a small part of the project that overall it's still going to be great for beautification."

Iowa West emailed council stating they were reconsidering funding phases two through five of the project.

The foundation is waiting for a response from city council.

"It wasn't a flat out 'no,' it was more that they didn't like the change that was made and they didn't have a chance to comment on it," Head said.

Iowa West was unavailable for comment Friday.

This isn't the first time Iowa West has reconsidered funding a project, Ringgenberg said.

The fourth-year city councilor says his constituents wanted the medians out, so he voted them out.

"We have to represent the entire community,” Ringgenberg said. “Iowa West has every right to be at the table. They can't be the entire table."

The Council Bluffs City Council will likely make a decision Monday about how to respond to the email from Iowa West.