Plans for a new Cedar Rapids convenient store will move forward, despite an appeal by the Cedar Rapids Community School District regarding its proximity to McKinley Middle School.
The new Kum & Go is planned at Mt. Vernon Road and 14th street SE.
After hearing comments from representatives of the school district and the middle school, the city council voted 5-3 against the appeal on Tuesday.
Emotions ran high in front of a standing room only crowd inside Cedar Rapids city council chambers.
"If one person shoots a gun at that store and a stray bullet goes across that field to McKinley school and kills one child, harms one child, then we've failed this community," said councilman Don Karr who voted in favor of the school's appeal.
Concerns have been elevated after police responded to an armed robbery Monday at a Cenex gas station just five blocks away from the school.
Tuesday, the council denied the school's appeal, paving the way for a Kum and Go to be built across the street.
School officials and parents fear the consequences of bringing a convenience store selling alcohol so close to the school.
"What's going to happen if an incident that happened five blocks up the street happens 60 feet from our property? We're concerned about that," said Steve Goodall, McKinley principal.
There's also concern the presence of Kum and Go will increase area traffic, making the walk for students more treacherous.
Kum and Go has agreed to pay for certain traffic improvements on Mt. Vernon road, however, to help keep kids safe on their commute.
While some left Tuesday's council meeting unhappy, others think the addition is a good thing.
I'm a mother of five, and I think it would be convenient here to have it," said Stacy High a McKinley parent.
Kum and Go officials say they want to be a good community partners and haven't had any problems at any of their other locations near schools.
"To my recollection we have never ever had an incident on our property or near our property with children or anyone else in those school locations," said Mark Haisch, Kum and Go VP of Operations.
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