Category Archives: News Articles

Fairmount Park Neighborhood Pollination Garden

The FPNA presented our proposal for a pollination garden to be planted on the vacant city-owned lot at 409 Park Ave. to the City Council on April 25th. Our project was unanimously and enthusiastically approved. End of Phase 1.

Phase 2 of the project is about to begin, which is to order the wildflower seeds and get the ground tilled for planting. Our committee has its work cut out for it, but all volunteers are welcome and needed. There’s plenty of work for all, including planting, watering and weeding, so don’t be shy about adding your names to our list of volunteers!

Judging by the interest shown by the public at the City Council meeting, this is an idea that may catch fire in other areas as well. Again, we are the “urban pioneers” who get things done.

If you are interested in volunteering please contact Michelle Mutchler-Burns at or Sharon Babbitt at

Sharon Babbitt
President, FPNA

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163 Glen Avenue: The History We Live In: Ernest and Ethel Peet home

Here’s the newspaper writeup on my house at 163 Glen Ave from last Sunday’s Nonpareil:

The History We Live In: Ernest and Ethel Peet home, 163 Glen Ave

If you skip through all the “begats” in the first column and start at the bottom of the second column, the story of “Peet’s Feed” is the interesting part. Most of us Beck kids delivered the Nonpareil to Ethel Peet at my current address. She was Vice President of Peet’s Feed, which her husband started in 1916. Ethel Peet lived in my house until she died in 1979. Her last will and testament is listed in my abstract — pages and pages of all the farms she owned. Total value of estate — $5.3 million.

Here’s a photo of an old postcard: Peet Mfg. Co. Postcard

And here’s a 1945 ad for E.M. Peet Mfg: Peet Mfg. 1945 Ad

I’m going to check with the Dodge House to see if they still have Ethel’s huge bell collection, which used to hang in the middle of my large mahogany showcase. When I moved into the house, the bells were gone, but the remains of a huge cloth-covered cable was still at the top of the showcase. According to my neighbor, all those wires were used to ring all the bells and supposedly she had some of them rigged up to the doorbell.

Steve Beck
163 Glen Avenue

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John Drake Vital Part of a Mentoring Team

Our friend and Neighbor John Drake (451 Glen) has been recognized as playing a vital role as part of a mentoring team to a Lewis Central student. Please enjoy the link to the Daily Nonpariel Article below.

Student-athlete finds future hope through teacher, mentor, coach

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Terri Dowell Face of the Day

Our own neighbor and FPNA board member Terri Dowell has a write up in the Daily Nonpariel “Face of the Day”. Please see the link Below. Enjoy.

The Daily Nonpariel Face of the Day

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Return To Fairmount Park

What do we have to look forward to this coming year of 2015? I’m sure all of you are very excited about November’s announcement from the city to invest in a major renewal project for Fairmount Park. The “Return to Fairmount Park” project will be a nearly $1 million project over the coming year. We want to recognize that this is being made possible, in part, by a $100,000 lead donation from the Rotary Club of Council Bluffs as their celebrate their 100th year of service.
Once considered the greatest park in the area and a regional destination, Fairmount Park has a history of being one of the premier parks in the country in the early parts of the last century. It featured a greenhouse, ice-skating, sledding, a petting zoo and an old bell tower. Council Bluffs’ trolley streetcars once had a stop at Fairmount Park. You can find further details on the project at the link below.


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Old KOIL Radio Station is now five apartments

If you did not catch Mary Lou McGinn’s excellent article about the KOIL building in our neighborhood (600 Huntington Avenue) please see the below link to the site. Enjoy

Old KOIL Radio Station is now five apartments

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Neighborhood Associations Defend Council Bluffs

Neighborhood Association representatives met at the Neighborhood Center (136 South Main) to publicly refute the Nonpareil article and the online report about ranking Council Bluffs the 56th most dangerous city in America.

Those present included City Councilmen Nate Watson, Dan Rhodes President of Kainsville-Tinley Neighborhood Association, John Marshall Vice President of North Broadway Neighborhood Association and myself as President of the Farirmount Park Neighborhood Association.

I’ve included the link to the Nonpareil and KMTV news story. I encourage everyone to read the article and review the broadcast to form their own opinions.

Nonpareil: Danger Zone? County supervisor proposes crime and safety commission

KMTV3: Council Bluffs More Dangerous than Chicago

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FPNA: Selected as Finalist for 2014 Neighborhood of the Year (NOTY)

The Fairmount Park Neighborhood Association has been selected as a finalist for the 2014 Neighborhood of the Year (NOTY) award. Back in February we submitted our FPNA Pole Project as our entry to the 2014 Neighborhood of the Year (NOTY) awards.

The 2014 NOTY awards from Neighborhoods USA (NUSA) marks the 30th year that NUSA will recognize the outstanding work of neighborhood organizations across the United States for their work in improving the quality of life in their communities. Our entry was in the Physical Revitalization/Beautification category. Entrants were judged on Self Help/Financial Capability, Grassroots Involvement, Innovativeness, Community Benefit, Sustainability., Leadership Development , Partnership Building , Volunteerism and Ability to be Replicated.

The winners of the 2014 NOTY will be announced on May 22nd. at the 2014 NUSA conference in Eugene, Oregon. This is the annual conference of Neighborhoods for the United States. I want to thank all of our FPNA volunteers who have worked on our Pole project from writing grants, creating budgets, digging holes, erecting poles, hanging banners, planting flower baskets and constructing decorations. Your time, energy and effort is greatly appreciated.

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FPNA Banner Pole Installation Phase One Complete

The installation of the FPNA identification banner poles has been a long-term goal of ours that is starting to come to fruition.

Back in 2009 we participated in a design Charette with the Iowa Architecture Foundation (IAF). While there were many good ideas from the IAF the banner/pole/flower basket seemed to catch everyone’s attention and that is what we chose to focus on.

It has taken a few years to reach this point. We first needed to build up our treasury while still undertaking other improvement and beautification projects around the neighborhood. We remained frugal because we always knew what the end goal needed to be.

We are now seeing the first phases of this project complete. We have poles/banners and baskets installed at the entrances to our neighborhood that will help strengthen a sense of belonging and empower neighbors to actively participate in the neighborhood and the community.

I first want to thank the organizations that, without their assistance, this would not have been possible. We received grants from The Pottawattomie County Community Foundation (PCCF) and from CURB (Creating the Ultimate Residential Beautification)

Both organizations were very gracious about the delays in manufacturing and the weather conditions that caused us to be behind schedule. The FPNA very much appreciates their continued commitment to helping organizations like ours achieve the goals we set for ourselves, our neighborhood and our community.

I want to thank the grant writer – Sharon Babbitt, who poured over the applications and helped communicate our intent in the best possible terms.

To the installation crew, Dave Huggins and Mike Ring and myself who dug, poured concrete, set anchor bolts, got muddy, got drenched but persevered to make it happen.

To Michelle Mutchler-Burns, who will be the care taker of the flower baskets so that they continue to inspire and impress all who visit our neighborhood.

This is only the first phase, we have more installation locations planned so the hard work isn’t quite done. But now that we kinda know what we are doing it might not be so painful. Thanks again to everyone who has participated over the years on this project.

For photos from the installation “CLICK HERE”.

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Fairmount Park NA Identification Poles Installed

by Sharon Babbitt

The Fairmount Park Neighborhood Association took steps to achieve a long-held goal with the installation of the first of what we hope will be many identification poles at the entrances to our neighborhood earlier this month. These 14 ft. tall aluminum poles display custom designed banners and professionally planted flower baskets intended to call attention to the historic district in which they are located. The banners, designed by graphic artist and Neighborhood Association President Kyle Muschall, proclaim that this is the Fairmount Park neighborhood and the Park/Glen Historic District. The flower baskets were planted by Sherbondy’s Garden Center.

The initial goal of this project was to visually unite our widespread neighborhood. We realized that it would be a costly venture and has conservatively moved forward with various fund raising projects, such as garage sales, home tours, donations from interested individuals, and the dues paid by its many members. Grants were obtained from the Pottawattamie County Community Foundation (PCCF) and the Creating the Ultimate Residential Beautification group (CURB) administered by Keep Council Bluffs Beautiful. Working together, the first phase of this ambitious program was achieved this month, but phase two will continue as more of these beautiful installations are slated to begin later this year.

On June 28th beginning at 6:30 p.m., the neighborhood association will hold a pot luck party to thank the people who helped make this project possible, including our talented volunteers who actually did the installation work. It will be held at 445 Glen Ave., the site of one of the completed poles, and is open to the public.

Photo By Kyle Muschall

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