Washington business owners start petition to keep Board of Supervisors offices downtown

Their concern is that moving those offices could also reduce foot traffic to downtown Washington.
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 5:50 PM CDT
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WASHINGTON, Iowa (KCRG) - What many would call the “core” of Washington, Iowa is their downtown area. It has several stores, restaurants, and other businesses. Also within the area is the courthouse which is home to the Board of Supervisors’ offices.

Karen Chabal is one store owner who has had an antique shop in downtown Washington for almost two years. When she and several other business owners found out the Board of Supervisors was considering moving offices out of the area, they wanted to do something about it.

“We created a petition to create a little bit of awareness,” Chabal told TV-9. “We’re finding that a lot of people don’t know that that’s really even something they’re considering.”

Their concern is that moving those offices could also reduce foot traffic to downtown Washington.

“To have to make a special effort to come downtown and be aware of the revitalization and the really the economic vitality that is happening in Washington,” said Chabal.

Bob Yoder is a supervisor and supports the move. He says their offices in the basement of the courthouse have become cramped.

“We need more room than the courthouse and at this time the judicial system would like to use all of the courthouse,” said Yoder.

There is an option to move to another building within downtown, but most supervisors support relocating further from Washington’s core.

“It’s a point of view: do you want to be downtown or would you rather be out on the edge of town. Different people see it differently,” said Yoder.

There are several hard copies of this petition located at various businesses here in Downtown Washington, but there’s also an online version that continues to collect signatures.

Advocates say they plan to present the petition during the board’s first meeting in April