Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
WASHINGTON — Washington City Council members unanimously approved a final plat for Phase 2 of its business park project last week over the dissent of a vocal minority of farmers.
The decision sets $2.6 million of development in motion on the south side of town, mostly funded by state and federal grants, establishing eight new industrial lots and paving West Buchanan Street from the wastewater plant road to South Avenue E.
While the project is only in its first phases, City Administrator Brent Hinson said the city was in negotiations with a business hoping to buy 10 acres of the park. Hinson declined to comment on which business this was, citing confidentiality agreements.
The project will install a boulevard on West Buchanan, one of several facts that has drawn criticism from the Murphy family, which owns farms in the area, saying the divider would hinder combine access to their fields.
“We’ve always used Buchanan as a farm-to-market kind of road, and they want to fit a boulevard in there,” resident Mike Murphy said in a complaint at a Planning and Zoning Commission meeting about the project. “It’s going to block our access to that side of the field that’s right next to the industrial park. We’ll have to take the whole machinery in through Washington, down Highway 1, into the industrial park, and then into the field instead of just going from the house to the field.”
Hinson said at the same meeting that the boulevard was a necessary traffic control measure and a way to maintain a tranquil feel for the cemetery adjacent to the park.
While the Murphy family has voiced several other complaints, including the project’s effect on water flow and its alleged violation of a legal agreement signed in the 1920s, city officials dismissed these claims as expired and unfounded at several previous meetings.