COUNCIL BLUFFS, IA, October 14, 2019– The 712 Initiative and the Bayliss Neighborhood Association are excited to announce the opening of Bayliss Court Commons at the corner of South 8th Street and 1st Avenue.

An opening celebration will take place at Baldwin Court Commons on October 19 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be food and children’s activities, and all members of the community are welcome to join in the festivities.

Soccer goals, a picnic area, a walking track, a school bus shelter, and a little free library are among the improvements to the previously vacant lot. Over the last few months, more than 60 community volunteers have given their time to help build fences, raise shade structures, do landscaping, and putting creative touches around the space.

“The most rewarding parts of the process were when I saw the first children using the soccer field and when the first books were borrowed from the little free library,” said Susan Opperman, Bayliss Neighborhood Association President.

The name Baldwin Court draws on the history of the area. Before Council Bluffs’ street and avenue names were standardized, South 8th Street was originally called Baldwin Street and 1st Avenue was called Court Street.

The project was funded by the Iowa West Foundation and facilitated by The 712 Initiative in a series of neighborhood walkability projects aimed to enhance the experience of being a pedestrian in the city.

“We’re incredibly thankful to The 712 for taking a vacant lot and turning it into a safe location for our children and community to use,” said Lisa Gusman, Board Member of the Bayliss Neighborhood Association.

Additional thanks go to Tyler Kissel, Sun Valley Landscaping, Sequels Thrift Store, the Friends of the Council Bluffs Public Library, and the Bayliss Neighborhood Association for their help with the project.

If you are interested in helping program Bayliss Court Commons, contact The 712 Initiative’s Neighborhood Coordinator, Turner Morgan, at or 712-396-2476.

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