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Council Bluffs residents take legal action in the fight to keep Baughn Street open

Posted at 6:10 PM, Apr 02, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-02 20:32:11-04

COUNCIL BLUFFS, Iowa (KMTV) — A recent Council Bluffs City Council decision sparked so much controversy that neighbors are hiring a lawyer based out of Des Moines.

One attorney, Alison Kanne with Wandro & Associates, PC, said the council's actions violated city and state code. She said, under Iowa law, you have to find that the street has no benefit to the community.

"This is not a vacant street, it is used by residents and I think that's evidenced by the fact that we have a committee who have established themselves to keep this street open. It is very important to the community," said Kanne.

Initially, the council denied the YMCA's application to vacate Baughn Street. However, a council member made a motion to reopen it and another hearing was held to approve the project.

"Our issue with that is they didn't follow the notice requirements. They are required to notify the community that there's going to be this second vote. We also don't see any change in the substance of what they were considering beyond the fact that the YMCA was willing to pay a certain amount of money for this project," said Kanne.

One resident, Tony Beraldi, explained why he's spearheading the effort to keep Baughn Street open.

"It's my neighborhood, it's my home. I've lived there for 27 years I believe...I hope to live another 30 years, it's my home, it's important to me," said Beraldi.

Beraldi and Kanne are hoping to send a clear, firm message to the council.

"We're trying to get back on the agenda in front of city council to be reheard or have an opportunity to be reheard since they had this second hearing without notifying anyone," said Kanne.

Mayor Matt Walsh doesn't expect the issue to come before the council again.

"City council has come to their final decision, they think that the issue is done with. They vacated the street and they plan to deed it to the YMCA. The City Council does not want to discuss it further," said Walsh.

Still, Beraldi is determined to "fight his good fight."

"You listen to the people that you are leading, you listen to them and we don't feel that's happening," he said.

At this point, the law firm is evaluating options like a potential lawsuit but they are hoping some kind of resolution can be reached.

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