Future of C Street unknown


by Grant Rodgers

With renovations to the Brenton Student Center projected to begin in the spring, determining the future of C Street presents an issue for college and city officials.

Although much of the recent discussion throughout campus focuses on the possible closing of the section of C Street running through campus, administrators remain open to options, and no decisions have been made.

The college and city are collaborating to study traffic patterns around the campus.

“As we contemplate breaking ground on a new campus center this coming spring, questions have been brought up on how we can continue to unify the campus and make it safer,” President John Byrd said. “An option might be to close the street to public traffic, or we may decide to streetscape and beautify C Street, while imposing restrictions on traffic speed.”

While options remain open, many leaders  see great opportunities for the campus arising from the potential closing of the street.

“I could imagine a pedestrian mall where the street is now that might be paved with some bricks or concrete and possibly a bell tower or some other feature,” Byrd said. “What you’re really trying to do is incorporate that piece of real estate so that the campus doesn’t have that barrier.”

Indianola’s mayor, Kenan Bresnan, witnessed the positive effect of incorporating a street on a college campus while he was an undergraduate at St. Ambrose Univeristy.

“To me, it’s a no brainer that Simpson needs C Street,” Bresnan said. “I saw what happened when they took out a street or two at St. Ambrose and how beautiful it made the campus.”

Student Body President Macy Koch views the potential closing as beneficial for the energy and flow of campus that is currently disrupted by parked and moving cars on the street.

“It offers great potential for a more centralized common area,” Koch said. “This could really add an aesthetically pleasing and vibrant aspect to campus.”

While the benefits of changing or closing the operation of C Street and the timing may seem to be in good order, all involved parties agree that many issues remain. One issue would be the traffic and safety effects on surrounding areas such as Irving Elementary.

“The big thing we’re looking for is how many cars travel on that street, where they come from and what else could be done with that traffic,” Bresnan said.

In addition to traffic concerns, Koch expects student concerns to arise should parking on C Street be eliminated.

“I hope that if administration go through with this that they would consider the parking issue, as that is already a problem that SGA tries to deal with,” Koch said.

Although the president maintains parking will indeed be an issue, he also acknowledges that too much remains unknown to fully understand how changes would affect parking.

Changes to or the closing of C Street will certainly become a controversial topic in the future.  However, with a new campus center coming soon, these leaders seem excited about the possibilities.

“I hope that we could encourage the use of the new student center through the creation of even more open space and a common area incorporating C Street,” Koch said. “The plans for the future sound very exciting.”