The Dubuque Area Chamber of Commerce said today that a vote tied to the future of the city-owned Five Flags Center should be postponed in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The DACC believes that the Five Flags expansion is an extremely important economic discussion for Dubuque and surrounding communities," a press release states. "However, with the global health emergency creating significant disruption and uncertainty in the daily lives of residents, a September 2020 vote is not conducive to accurately evaluate the business community position."
Voters are slated to head to the polls on Sept. 8 to weigh in on a proposal for the city to borrow up to $74.3 million to demolish the more-than-40-year-old facility and to construct a larger version that stretches across West Fifth Street and increases the capacity from 4,000 seats to more than 6,400. The historic Five Flags Theater would be renovated and preserved.
At least 60% of voters would need to back the measure for it to pass.
Overall, the average Dubuque homeowner would pay about $111 per year if the measure were approved, according to city officials.
The chamber's Board of Directors has endorsed the proposed expansion “to enhance our competitiveness with surrounding metros ... to attract and retain workforce and to maximize the best interests of our business climate.” But it has yet to take a position on the September vote itself.
The release states that the chamber hopes "this issue can be revisited in the future when the community can return to normalcy and future-forward thinking."