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The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him: adam.belz@gazcomm.com

Supes reject Westdale offer

CEDAR RAPIDS — The Linn County Supervisors on Wednesday rejected a Dec. 1 proposal for them to buy Westdale Mall.

A letter to that effect was approved by a vote of 3-1, with Supervisor Brent Oleson dissenting and Supervisor Linda Langston absent.

The supervisors didn’t rule out ever buying the mall, but it doesn’t look likely.

The owners of Westdale sent a Jan. 13 letter to the supervisors saying either they must buy the mall for $18.5 million by March 30 or find a new place for several county offices that have been there since the flood.

In their response, the supervisors said they appreciate the mall’s generosity toward Linn County since the flood. They also said they must explore the option of co-location with the city and school district, which will take at least six months.

“Clearly, such a timeline is irreconcilable with a deadline of March 30, 2009,” the supervisors wrote in their letter to the mall’s owners.

The supervisors asked Westdale’s owners to consider extending leases for 17 county offices at Westdale for another 24 months beyond April 30, and asked for a response to this question by Monday.

“Linn County requires a quick response to this question as alternate space would need to be arranged and accomplished by the April 30 deadline should lease extension not be possible,” the supervisors wrote.

Oleson voted against the letter because he doesn’t think purchasing Westdale has ever been seriously considered, and because co-location discussions have not begun in earnest, he said.

“I think this letter that we’re going to send today is the death knell for Westdale as a long-term option,” Oleson said. “I thought it was fitting because the process has been plagued by indecision, miscommunication and what some consider bad faith.”

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