Indianola sells C Street to Simpson

by Ben Rodgers

In their last meeting, the Indianola City Council passed a resolution to sell a portion of North C Street to Simpson College in a 3-2 vote with one abstention. In the purchase agreement, the city of Indianola will sell the street to Simpson for $84,000 to allow the school to build a pedestrian plaza.
The sale came after an injunction was filed last week to halt the sale of the street to the college did not pass.
Council members John Parker Jr., Greg Marchant and Eric Mathieu voted in favor of the resolution, council members Pam Pepper and Pete Berry voted against it and councilman John Sirianni declined to vote due to a conflict of interest.
Council members denied further comment on the vote after being advised by the city council to keep the best interest of the city.
Many concerns about the sale and closure brought forth were issues regarding traffic patterns, safety of Irving Elementary students and accessibility to those with issues due to physical immobility.
“Simpson and the city had systematically addressed the main concerns of closing C Street which include neighborhood parking access, the impact on safety of Irving Elementary students, emergency vehicle access to campus and north/south traffic patterns within the city,” mayor Kenan Bresnan said in a press release. “We made good progress and we are elated that it has come to closure with today’s final vote on the sale.”
With the vote to sell C Street, college president Jay Simmons said Simpson’s next move will begin with sending out requests for proposals from architectural firms asking them for designs of what the street might look like once construction on the plaza starts. Simpson will eventually pick a firm to carry out the construction.
The street will stay open until the city receives definitive construction plans from the college.
“We’ll select a design that we think makes sense for the college and share those sketches and plans with folk on campus and with our neighbors,” Simmons said.
Simmons said by sharing plans with those who had been opposed to the sale of the street will allow them to help Simpson improve their plans for the plaza and make it more accessible.
“We want to do that to demonstrate that we are a good neighbor and a good corporate citizen in Indianola,” Simmons said.
Simpson hopes by next spring, it will be able to coordinate with Irving Elementary, as the elementary builds its new drop off station, to close C Street and begin construction on the plaza.

“My hope is that by this time next year we’ll be dedicating a new plaza that will be very attractive, make easier access across campus for our students, faculty and staff and generally just make the campus come together a little more tightly,” Simmons said. “This is a great moment for Simpson and a great moment for the community too. We’ve heard some people opposed to this whole idea but my hope is that this time next year we can invite them to this dedication and maybe not win them over entirely, but at least help them see that we’re trying to do something that benefits not just Simpson but all of Indianola.”


While many citizens are against the sale of the street, city manager Eric Hansen believes this will be beneficial for the college as well as the community.


“Ultimately we’ll have to see their plans,” said Hansen. “Ultimately my job is to ensure that when things happen we address all of the concerns around it whether it’s parking, safety at the school, or traffic flow. I think we brought a number of good things to resolution that will be good not only for the college but for the neighborhood.”