The dream of an Indianola Wellness Facility was made a reality Tuesday night, March 1 as residents turned out to the polls to vote – and some were turned away.
By 8:30 p.m. Tuesday night the Indianola Auditor’s Office unofficially announced that the wellness center passed with nearly 77 percent, having received 2,023 ‘yes’ votes. Twenty-three percent voted ‘no’ with 615.
“This is very exciting for Simpson and the community,” President John Byrd said.
Byrd said this will be “great for the college.”
“This is a very exciting day for Indianola,” Byrd said.
Indianola Mayor Kenan Bresnan agreed with Byrd.
“I’m very excited to hear that this vote passed,” Bresnan said. “Furthermore, I was informed that it passed with a 76 percent majority, which just shows that there’s a whole lot of people at Simpson and in Indianola that are ready to move ahead with this project and work on the town. The numbers speak for themselves, there was a high percentage and I’m very excited that it passed.”
It was reported by Simpson students and Simpsonian staff members that while some residents with an Indianola address received ‘Vote YES’ fliers and information in the mail – they were unable to vote in the election because they did not live within city limits. This is Iowa law, that to vote on such a referendum one must live within city limits, however, many people were still left confused.
Some students were turned away without having proof of residency, which meant they had to go back to gather that proof.
By 7:30 a.m. over 700 people had already voted, which included early voting that opened Monday, Feb. 14. Polls were open Tuesday, March 1 from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. at the American Legion Hall.
“I think this is an important issue and an important vote on a couple different aspects that could pivot the changes in Indianola,” said Tim Davison, an Indianola resident that showed up to the polls Tuesday evening.
Pivotal is right. With the passing of the wellness center, Simpson College could have new work out facilities, a multi-level weight room and new offices. On top of that, the swim team may have access to an NCAA-regulated pool.
According to some, it not only will it enhance Simpson’s facilities, but also impact the community.
“I think that (the wellness center) would be a huge benefit for Indianola,” said Roxane Kaale, another voter on Tuesday night.
According to Twitter updates and reports throughout the day from Simpsonian staff members who visited the polling site, there was a steady flow of traffic for most of the day.
Many spoke up on behalf of the new facility.
“I think it is a huge benefit to the community, the elderly and the athletics,” Rhonda Kaale said. Kaale also voted on Tuesday night.
John Sirianni, Simpson College director of athletics, won a council seat with 750 votes in his favor. Pam Pepper also won a seat, beating out Jody Miller and Ivan Richert.