A North End Neighborhood Association board member said he would focus on two of its main thoroughfares and an empty commercial property if he is elected to the Dubuque City Council.
Danny Sprank is one of three candidates vying for the Ward 3 position on the council recently vacated by Kate Larson. The top two vote-getters in the Oct. 8 primary election will advance to the Nov. 5 general election.
Sprank said any plans for the North End should start with Central Avenue, and he commended council members’ work so far in that regard.
The first step to improvement in the corridor is converting Central to a two-way street, he said.
“Once (U.S. 52) is out of there, the city can really start rehabbing those buildings, getting involved with the residents,” Sprank said.
The U.S. 52 route heading south into Dubuque eventually will follow the Northwest Arterial rather than Central Avenue, following the opening of the Southwest Arterial and other work.
Sprank said Central’s conversion to a two-way traffic street after that point will attract businesses that will complement the charm of the ward — book shops, family-owned grocery stores, a hardware store.
Once Central is redeveloped, Sprank said, city officials need to turn their eyes to Kerper Boulevard, which he said needs massive reinvestment.
He said city officials also need to make plans for the former Flexsteel Industries Inc. site at 3400 Jackson St. Flexsteel has agreed to gift the 43-acre site to nonprofit Dubuque Initiatives and plans call for the demolition and rehabilitation of the property.
“That’s a big piece of land, too big to sit idle,” Sprank said.
He said there are amenities the North End needs desperately that could fit at that property, such as an “economical grocery store,” an urgent care center and a senior center.
Sprank was born in Bellevue, Iowa, but moved to Dubuque 14 years ago. He said he and his husband moved to the North End knowing that it was on the rise.
“The ward is poor,” he said. “I know that. I chose to live in the neighborhood that was ready to grow.”
But Sprank said it could use some help.
“We want to see a safe and stable neighborhood,” he said. “That might mean a little more police involvement, community involvement.”