A state board has rejected a settlement with a group of Page County residents who’re suing over a state grant for a lake project in the county. Seven farm couples with property that would have been displaed by the lake say the “Vision Iowa” Board violated proceedure when it awarded $12 MILLION to the cities developing the West Tarkio Reservoir. The lawsuit has blocked other, unrelated projects that received grants on the same day, including the Cedar Valley River Renaissance. Under the settlement proposed, the farm families would have dropped their lawsuit if the Vision Iowa Board agreed to recind its grant to Page County, forcing the county to re-apply. Board chairman Michael Gartner says that’s unacceptable.The lawsuit initially blocked two other “Vision Iowa” grants, but a judge dismissed Clinton from the lawsuit and an award to Cedar Rapids was lost when area residents rejected local financing for the project. Gardner says that means it’s just the Cedar Valley project that remains in limbo because of the lawsuit. Gardner says the seven southwest Iowa families are “holding Waterloo hostage in this.” The Cedar Valley Renaissance project includs a new ampitheater, pedestrian walkway and trail improvements. A late September trial date has been set for the lawsuit.
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