The Vinton City Council discussed the future of the Iowa Braille School campus during its meeting last Thursday, where city officials learned that it is possible that the State of Iowa may find its own use for the property.
Today, representatives of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy are visiting Vinton to consider the IBSSS campus as a possible new home.
Vinton City Manager Chris Ward told the council about this visit, and related a conversation he had had with State Rep. Dawn Pettengill about the campus.
“Vinton Police Chief Ted Paxton and Captain Eric Dickinson brought up the Law Enforcement Academy to Senator Kapucian and me,” Pettengill said. “We took it to our (House and Senate) Appropriation Committee Chairs as a good idea. When the Director of the DOM (Department of Management) told me that, I was thrilled. Hopefully the city will attend the meeting and give them the royal treatment like they did when AmeriCorps was interested. They would be a great fit for our community.”
The ILEA facility at Camp Dodge near Des Moines has had several problems, including black mold. Officials have already begun discussions on relocation or building a new facility.
State officials indicated they are visiting three possible locations for possible conversion into the future home of the ILEA.
Meanwhile, city officials are also pondering what path to take if the offer to buy the campus becomes a reality.
Pettengill also shared with Ward a conversation she had had on Thursday with Gov. Terry Branstad. “The Governor gave his commitment that we would follow Iowa Code 270.10. He also gave his commitment that we, his office and the state would work together in the best interest of Vinton as partners,” Pettengill said.
Ward said Pettengill told him the Governor assured her the state would do all it can to make sure that if Vinton does end up with the IBSSS property, it would not become a burden to the city.
There has also been some conversation about a possible study by Iowa State University on issues related to the city taking possession of the campus.
Also, a committee of local residents will soon be meeting to share ideas and help evaluate the property.