Category Archives: News Articles

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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FPNA honored by the C.B. Historical Preservation Commission

We had a great turn out May 15 for the Council Bluffs Historical Preservation Commission awards. The get together was held in the lobby of the newly renovated Hugh-Irons Building in the 100 Block of Broadway. Mayor Tom Hanafan spoke and read a proclamation promoting May as Historical Preservation month. The officers of the Historical Preservation Commission then awarded three Neighborhood Associations, Fairmount Park, Gibraltar, and Lincoln-Fairview their yearly awards in recognition for the everyday efforts that our organizations commit themselves to keep intact what we think makes our neighborhoods unique. Efforts like working with the Parks Department to restore the Kirn Park stadium. The Brick Street Initiative that we’ve partnered with the C.B. Public Works Department and the Gibraltar NA to maintain our Historical designation. And the simple acts of volunteerism like food and clothing drives, providing lunches to Habitat for Humanity. It was a great occasion to talk with folks who have the same interests and intent as our Fairmount Park Neighborhood. For the photos from the event CLICK HERE

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Three Council Bluffs neighborhood associations honored

By Tim Rohwer

Awards
Three Council Bluffs neighborhood associations have been busy in recent years doing “everyday” things to preserve the historical charm of their area.

Their efforts didn’t go unnoticed.

On Thursday, they were awarded the 2013 Preservation Award by the Council Bluffs Historic Preservation Commission.

The commission recognized the Fairmount Park, Gibraltar, and the Lincoln Fairview associations for doing “everyday things that people can do,” as one city official said.

“We want to recognize the efforts of neighborhood associations to preserve their neighborhoods,” said Cal Petersen, chairman of the historical commission.

The Fairmount Park Association, according to Petersen, oversaw the renovation of the grandstand at Kirn Park, sponsored clean-up days, gave tours of the homes in the neighborhood that underwent restoration, purchased historical banners for street poles, etc.

The Gibraltar association helped the Fairmount group restore the brick streets, as well as helping with the Kirn project. It even purchased a security camera to be placed there to discourage vandals. It also sponsored fundraising events for the historic General Dodge House, and even publishes a frequent newsletter to keep residents informed on projects.

The Lincoln Fairview association purchased street sign banners for Oakland Avenue, as well as benches for the Lincoln Monument and a security camera for the Black Angel statue. That group also publishes a newsletter.

“It’s about neighborhoods saying, ‘We need to preserve what we have,’” Mayor Tom Hanafan said. “We have a community that supports a lot of efforts.”

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New ‘historic’ homes may come to 400 block of Park Avenue

Posted: Sunday, January 13, 2013 12:00 am | Updated: 2:39 pm, Tue Jan 15, 2013.

By Tim Rohwer – Daily Nonpareil
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A local developer says it is “doable.”

So do Council Bluffs officials. Efforts are being made to develop a vacant stretch in the Park/Glen Neighborhood with homes to fit the historical characteristics of that area.

Officials have just sent requests for proposals to potential developers to build at least four single-family homes meeting certain historical characteristics in the 400 block of Park Avenue.

Proposals are to be returned to the Community Development Department no later than March 1, said spokeswoman Brenda Carrico.

“You always hope for a good response,” she said.

Over a period of time, the city acquired titles through the court system to the properties located at 401, 409, 431, 435 and 441 Park Avenue. Efforts to seek improvements on those houses were unsuccessful.

“We boarded them up for years,” Carrico said.

A study last year found renovation of the homes there was financially unfeasible, she said. Five structures were recently demolished. One of the city’s objectives in redeveloping that property is building residential structures consistent with the historic character of the immediate area. The Park/Glen Historic District is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

“This is very important to the city,” said Don Gross, director of the Community Development Department. “Approximately 50 percent of the scoring (developer selection) is design.”

Gross said other cities have probably done a similar project, but the actions here are not modeled after any outside models.

“The city owns six lots and we want to sell them and see what development happens,” he said. “This is not really any different than the city selling lots in the Nash Boulevard subdivision or north of Sunset Park.”

Carrico described the neighborhood’s character as being in the late 19th Century Victorian style with homes being at least two stories and featuring a wrap-around porch and gable-type roofs.

“I think they are on the right track,” said John Jerkovich, a local developer.

Many so-called in-fill homes, those being built in the heart of the city, are two-story structures, he said.

Gross doesn’t think the historical requirements will be difficult for developers.

“We don’t believe so. Constructing a two-story structure with a gable roof and a front porch would go a long way at matching the scale, density, and character of the neighborhood. It’s not a question whether builders can build homes at this location. We have many qualified and capable builders in this community. The question is, can they sell the homes?

The six lots have been appraised for $67,700, which equates to $11,283 per lot, according to Gross.

“The city is obligated to sell the property for appraised value, which is $67,700,” he said. “However, we would consider financing the value of the lots for the right project.”

At least four structures have to be built to qualify for Enterprise Zone tax benefits that encourage development, Carrico said.

Based on financial needs, the city will consider various options on the sale of the land. In addition, property tax abatement may be available for eligible housing projects.

“We’re willing to participate financially in projects based on needs,” Carrico said.

That’s good, according to Jerkovich.

“It can be doable if the price doesn’t get too high,” he said. “Don and Brenda are open-minded and great to work with.”

“We assume that the need to build the homes to fit the historic nature of the neighborhood could have some costs, but not to an amount that would make the project unfeasible,” Gross added.

Following the March 1 deadline, she and other department officials will recommend a developer to the City Council at its late March meeting, Carrico said.

With approval, the chosen developer would have two years to complete the project, she said.

If for some reason there aren’t any takers for this project, the city would wait and try again when market conditions improve, Gross said. Nevertheless, there has been interest already, he quickly said.

“I think it will be OK,” Jerkovich said.

Historic homes    Historic homes  Historic homes

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Former Resident Update

All,

Eleanor Jacobs, long time resident of  the former 441 Park Ave (85 year resident), will be having heart surgery tomorrow. Her granddaughter, Sarah Arnold, rushed her to the E.R. this past Tuesday, with symptoms of a heart attack. Thankfully, she did not have one, however, her arteries are very clogged. The cardiologist is unsure of the extent of the damage and won’t know until they do the surgery. She’s going to have an Angiogram first, then the cardiologist is 90% sure she’ll have to have Angioplasty and stents put into her heart. Eleanor will be 89 years old in June and in poor health. Her family is asking for prayers and will let the Association know the outcome. Thank you on behalf of the Jacobs/Arnold family.

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Alert!- Water Main Break- Boil Water Advisory

A major water-main break in Council Bluffs early Wednesday left a number of customers without service. The break affecting mostly the west end of the Bluffs occurred about 2:30 a.m. in the area of Avenue E and North Ninth Street. Leaking water was stopped by 4:30 a.m., and Council Bluffs Water Works department crews were working to re-pressurize the system. No evacuations were ordered but some low-level flooding did occur in the area, leaving some streets heavily damaged.

While loss of pressure does not necessarily mean the water has been contaminated, it does mean that pathogens may be able to enter the piped-water system and thus be carried to consumers.

The Council Bluffs Works is issuing a pre-cautionary Boil Water Advisor. Do not use tap water for drinking or food preparation. Under a Boil-Water Advisory (BWA) the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that water be brought to a rolling boil for one minute before it is consumed in order to kill protozoa, bacteria and viruses.

The Council Bluffs Works will be taking water samples through out the city to verify the safety of the water and lift the advisory as soon as possible. Refer to your media outlets for more information.

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400 Block of Park Avenue Abandoned Homes Demolition

Just prior to the Holidays the abandoned houses at the 400 Block of Park Avenue were demolished within the Fairmount Park Neighborhood Association. Our Association’s aim is to continue to work with the City on the plans to “in-fill” with single family homes on the now vacant lots. Please CLICK HERE to view the photo gallery of the demolition.

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Neighborhood Associations Move on Beautification

The Sunday May 27th edition of “The Daily Nonpareil” had a very nice article about the various active Neighborhood Associations throughout Council Bluffs. The FPNA was mentioned several times by Neighborhood Center Representative Ryan Willar. It also features a nice photo of Nate Watson’s home at 126 Park Avenue. Please follow the link to the Online section of the Nonpareil to read the full article.

 

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