Jesup will not sell part of historic road to developer

Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 10:56 PM CDT
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JESUP, Iowa (KCRG) - The stretch of South Street between 6th and 7th Streets will remain the property of the city.

Monday night, city council members decided not to put forth a motion to vacate, or get rid of, the street.

Vacating the street became an issue because developer Jason Thompson bought two parcels of property, one on either side of the road. He said he had no plans at present to do anything that would interfere with the road, but he also said, “the smaller parcel is so small that you couldn’t even put a, you know, small coffee shop there if you wanted to.”

The road is said to be a portion of Historic Route 20, and its place in history was one reason many opposed vacating the street.

Victoria Karsten doesn’t even live in Jesup— she said her son does— but she got more than 50 people to sign a petition opposing vacating the street. “When I was younger, my youth agricultural group would get together and do a road trip actually. So we actually did use this section of road and we went up to the original.”

The road’s history was just one of several reasons people opposed the move. There is one home on the road that can only be reached from South Street; the property owner had concerns about access. Others worried if the city sold this time, it would set a precedent. People also expressed concerns that there was no solid plan from Thompson detailing how the space would be used if the street were vacated.

City council took no action, preventing the sale of the street. However, officials did say Thompson could reapply in the future with specific plans for the properties.

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