WCCH summer opt- DSC_1797.JPG

Construction fencing surrounds the center of the Indianola Square, the previous and potentially future home of a Warren County Justice Center.

New bids for the proposed Warren County Justice Center came in Tuesday almost $4 million under earlier projected costs for the building, reducing the total cost of the project to about $33 million from the $37 million it was slated to cost back in July.

(2) comments


As a Warren County resident, I have concerns about building the courthouse on the square. The owners of the buildings on the square have spent time and money, yes some received from grants for that specific purpose, to restore and beautify our square. The new building design is a modern structure that doesn’t seem to fit with the existing historical ambiance of the buildings that would be surrounding it. I picture in my mind scenes from the movie “Robocop” with police cars and people in uniform milling in and around the building. As populations increase, so does crime and the need for enforcement in the courts. Translated as….more traffic on the square of police cars and support vehicles. For me, none of this creates a welcoming atmosphere to our city that will be evolving over the next decade.

What do we want visitors to feel when they drive up to the square and form their first impression of our square?

What vision do we have of our downtown in ten years’ time? Twenty years?

What kind of businesses do we want surrounding and supporting the courthouse? What kind of businesses would we want if an open park space were designed that would invite people to come to Indianola to spend the day on our square.

Historically, a court house on the square was a statement of “this is our county seat where you go to conduct important business”. Now, the only thing remaining about that historical concept are the courts and the jail. Are we sure we still want this for our city? The “business” of the county has been moved to the Administration building long ago, and now online as well.

I continue to ask the question, “Why doesn’t the county sell the square property to the city to develop?”

Would the property west of town where the old mall is be an option for the site?

This would support our Police department’s ability to transport prisoners to Des Moines utilizing R63. Perhaps move the Administration building there too. The reality is that less staff are needed as more business is conducted online. It would make parking much easier for people to come to the DMV, Treasurers office, Zoning, Dept. of Health, etc.

We have cities such as Johnston, Ankeny and Waukee building multi-billion-dollar attractions for families, and shopping.

What draw do we want here in Indianola for the future? Do we want a jail and courthouse on the square, or do we want something that is a charming asset to the community that Simpson College, Lake Ahquabi, Wesley Woods, The Metro Opera, and many other pillars of our community would be a compliment to.

I was a Simpson graduate and during the time I was studying there I gradually saw businesses moving away from the square and the building of Walmart. The square was in a gradual decline then (1990’s). When I returned from living out of state in 2002 I chose not to look for housing in Indianola because the decline of the square was so significant and unappealing. It lacked vibrancy in the heart of our city. I moved back to Indianola when the square was beginning to renew itself.

I feel the building the courthouse on the square is going to make a lasting impression on our city for many years to come. Are we sure this is the impression we want? I don’t and have voted against this plan twice, and will do so again if it comes up for a vote again,.


Renee Dalrymple


this is good news

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.