COURT BOND: Plans For Passed Referendum

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The Polk County Bond Referendum passed unofficially with 67 percent of the vote, Tuesday.

That means the Polk County Courthouse will begin to split up into several different downtown buildings, one of which connects directly to the skywalk.

Alisa Tayor has been a stylist in the skywalk for years, and knows first-hand the ups and downs it has faced.

“When I started working downtown there was 17,000 people foot traffic in the skywalk so that`s changed tremendously probably at least by half,” says Taylor.

Just recently Taylor opened up her own shop, Hair Hype, in the kaleidoscope hub.

She's hoping more traffic will help revitalize the area.

“It`s been kind of grim for the last five to seven years, so the business owners are ready for things to pick up and it`s just going to spark growth for everybody when it does,” says Taylor.

With the bond passing, the historic courthouse will begin to be divided.

The first phase includes the county attorney, juvenile court, misdemeanors and traffic court moving to the old J.C. Penny's/Wellmark building which connects to the skywalk.

“When it comes to the Penny`s building we`re already a little bit ahead of the curve we`ve had plans drawn up we`re doing some work in there right now and that`s all going to work to our benefit later on,” says Polk County Supervisor Robert Brownell.

Brownell says the next two phases include moving more services into the old jail building and finally renovating the courthouse.

“Both of the incidents with the Wellmark building and the jail, those are buildings that are not being used right now so it makes it easier and a little quicker because we can renovate and put people in there right away,” says Brownell.

Taylor is hoping that happens soon.

She's planning to expand her business as the traffic starts to pick back up in the skywalk.

“I have two chairs that I’m going to start renting here within the next year and I hope to add some tanning and nails and pedicures at some point. So right now starting out small and hope to grow as it gets busy downtown,” says Taylor.

The project is expected to be complete in 2021.

The tax increase for homeowners in Polk County is expected to go into effect in September.

It adds up to about $17 a year for a $150,000 home.