All is not quiet on the federal courthouse front.

The Des Moines City Council voted Monday to send a letter to the chief of the General Services Administration objecting to what City Councilwoman Linda Westergaard described as a “box” of a $136 million new federal courthouse that is being planned for the site of the former Riverfront YMCA.

Business leaders and public officials had hoped — after first objecting to the GSA’s selection of the site — for a prettier building, at the least, one that would accommodate public uses beyond the mere meting out of justice and serve as a catalyst for future development in downtown Des Moines.

After following the design path that has been taken for the courthouse, city officials and some business leaders are fretting about the future.

Art Slusark, chief communications officer for Meredith Corp., told the council that his company wants the GSA to rethink the location for the federal courthouse. He asked the council to delay sending a letter regarding the design to give business and civic leaders a chance to communicate with one message.

Apparently, that message will be delivered during a meeting with the GSA that is being hosted April 5 by the Greater Des Moines Partnership.

Continue reading to learn how city officials’ appeal to Congress about the project's location was turned away. Read more

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