Pro-conservation bond officials kick off campaign

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CEDAR RAPIDS — With the election less than two months away, the group pushing for Linn County’s proposed $40 million conservation bond is kicking off its campaign effort.

Officials with Linn County Water and Land Legacy Action — named after the proposed $40 million 20-year water and land quality bond — will host a campaign launch event 10 a.m. Thursday at Squaw Creek Park’s Prairie Oak Lodge, 4201 Big Bluestem Drive, Marion.

George Kanz, member of the Linn County Conservation Board and co-chair of Linn County Water and Land Legacy, said the wetland area was chosen for the event because it helps showcase the kind of projects the board hopes to address with bond funds.

“That’s the kind of effort we want to encourage and build on and do it in more places in Linn County on conservation land,” Kanz said.

As for the group’s plan between now and the Nov. 8 election, Kanz said it’s all about educating voters.

“The idea is to have a few mailers, educate folks and ask voters to really consider it and turn the ballot over and vote yes on the back,” he said.

Ballot language indicates that funds raised by the bond sale would be used to protect water sources, acquire land for natural floodwater storage and improve water quality through parks, trails and natural area projects.

County conservation staff say money raised from the bond sales could leverage more revenue from federal and state grants.

The conservation board and Linn County Board of Supervisors have passed resolutions establishing percentages — 55 percent for water quality and land protection, 30 percent for parks and 15 percent for trails — for the proposed bond.

As a bond issue, the ballot item requires at least 60 percent approval from voters to pass.

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