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West Branch Looking to Expand Ameniites

WEST BRANCH, IA (CBS2/FOX28)--The City of West Branch has a big project brewing. It comes after residents voiced their need for more amenities.

City leaders answered with a plan that will not only improve existing city parks, but also create a new park complex in the community.

The city library is like a playground to many kids in west branch.

After school kids go to the library, said high school sophomore, Jace Gongora.

That's because west branch doesnt have a lot of community facilities. No pool, no gym space.

"No place to even hang out really for kids. So we end up being a place for that. Which we're happy to be, said Nick Shimmin, Library Director.

Things get even busier in the summer months so plans are now in the works to turn things around.

"Well recently we've bought a piece of property, the Pedersen Valley property that's going to be our newest park complex which will host ball fields and a future community center, said Melissa Russell, West Branch Director of Parks and Recreation.

City leaders say the improvements will not only attract more people to the area, but will also cater to the community's needs.

"We did a community survey when we did the comprehensive plan that indicated people would like more park facilities and more amenities.

Phase one of the project also includes improvements to existing parks in the city and will cost more than three million dollars.

The money will come from tax incremental funding and local options sales tax.
"I think it's a wonderful opportunity for the city because it allows us to have another place that the community can get together, said resident Laura Gongora.

Residents will have a chance to support funding for the project when they vote this November.

City leaders expect to break ground next spring.

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