VINTON — “Not in my neighborhood.”
That was the message shared by neighbors in the Q Avenue neighborhood during last Thursday’s Vinton city council meeting.
Concerns were raised after neighbors learned that an interest had been expressed about turning the Don Martin Shelter into a homeless shelter.
Vinton Police Chief Ted Paxton had shared during a January council meeting that he had been approached by a Cedar Rapids organization about transferring the facility into a homeless shelter.
Although no organization has approached the city council about the possibility, neighbors voiced their thoughts.
Both Tracie Fisher and Joel Sallee spoke and presented petitions signed by those living in the area who disagreed with the idea of putting the shelter in the area.
“The city worked to fill the lots on Q Avenue with homes,” Fisher said. She questioned why the city would consider putting a homeless shelter in the new neighborhood.
“I’m just one person,” Don Hickey, said during the meeting. “I don’t feel that we need to have this in our neighborhood.
“I don’t feel that its a good idea,” he explained. Hickey pointed out that there was a bus stop at the end of the street.
Mayor Bud Maynard thanked all those who expressed their opinions about the shelter and for coming to the meeting.
In other business:
- Chris Ward, Vinton city administrator, shared a request from Hy-Vee regarding the Dollar Fresh store that is scheduled to open in Vinton yet this year.
“Hy-Vee has purchased the old Shopko building,” Ward explained. “In that location the company is planning on building a new concept store that is focused on more rural locations.”
In a memo to council members, Ward stated “Hy-Vee has made a request for tax abatement for a period of 10 years at 100%.
“According to our ordinance the most that the City of Vinton can offer is 80% on the improvements that are made on the building for a period of three years.”
Ward stated that he was not aware of a way that the property taxes could be abated for that length of time, nor at 100%.
“Why are they asking for the tax abatement and not using TIF funds,” Nathan Hesson, council member, asked Ward.
Ward explained that TIF funds are used for infrastructure construction, while the tax abatement could be used for updating structures.
“You told them what our ordinance is or are they asking us to change our ordinance,” Tami Stark, council member, asked Ward.
Ward explained that when Hy-Vee first came forward with the plan to purchase the store he shared the city’s ordinance.
He again stressed that government guidelines do not the city to meet the Hy-Vee request.
“We can formally tell Hy-Vee what our ordinance is and how can we can tell them,” Maynard said.
“These plans are good ones,” Stark said. “This is great for the city and we want to have a great working relationship.”
Hy-Vee’s application to the city for the tax abatement indicated that the estimated cost of the construction project will be between $1-1.5 million dollars while employing over 50 people.
-Ward told the council that he would be attending a meeting covering the upcoming census.
“The census is important and we want to make sure that residents participate,” Ward said.
He explained that some funding the city receives is based on the city’s population. For example, funding in the city’s road use tax is based on those census numbers.
“So if you want your street fixed in front of your house,” Hesson said “you need to fill out the census card.”
Ward confirmed that for the city to get the most dollars, it is necessary for all residents to fill out the census cards.