A Marshalltown resident has filed a lawsuit against the city to halt development of the Edgewood Extension project.
Patty Martin, 60, has lived at 817 N. Fifth Avenue for 37 years and maintains vacant lots that the Edgewood Street Extension would run on as part of her property. She is applying for an injunction and an order from the court to declare all of her property.
The vacant lot in question is three lots in the Binford Park addition:
• 817 N. Fifth Avenue
• 819 N. Fifth Avenue
• 901 N. Fifth Avenue
“The city intends to develop the street in such a way that industrial traffic runs directly through Ms. Martin’s front yard.” said Michael Marquess, Martin’s attorney. “We have tried to clarify this with the city council before, but they have played deaf to Ms. Martin.”
The lawsuit was filed on Monday and Marquess expects the city to be served on Thursday.
Patty Martin and her late husband Mike signed a 1984 purchase agreement for lots 817 and 819 on N. Fifth Avenue. According to Martin, the land had been owned by the family since at least the 1950s. In 2008 they bought vacant land at 901 N. Fifth Avenue to the north. Mike died of cancer in 2012.
Martin’s home is at 817 N. Fifth Avenue and there is a Morton building on Lot 819.
Since the purchase of this property, the Martin family has been the sole administrators of the property.
Martin said she was not contacted when the city announced the original Edgewood expansion plan, even if it was supposed to be walking through her back yard.
“I read it in the newspaper first” She said. “They wanted this ‘alley’ after me and my husband kept it up all these years. The city has never had an interest in it. “
After learning of the plans, Martin and her lawyer opened a line of communication to discuss Marshalltown buying the land from her. Marquess said the parties had the land valued separately, then the city stopped communicating with them.
He couldn’t reveal the exact value of the land after last year’s estimate, but said it was. “Sure six digits.”
“At the beginning of the year we just didn’t hear from the city and got nervous that something was going on.” said Marquis. “I contacted Ms. (Sue) Cahill and received no response. When she was elected to the State House and Raymond Starks was on the council, I contacted him and got no response. Then Mike Ladehoff finally got back to me. He was only allowed to tell me that they would no longer buy Patty’s shares. “
Martin and Marquess discussed the matter with members of the affected neighborhood and even moved to end the city’s rededication efforts in 2019.
“They don’t like it as much as I don’t like it” said Martin.
The heavy traffic that would flow through the neighborhood – including cement trucks and trucks going to JBS – has caused enough concern among residents of the area that some have moved away, according to Dwight Martin. Some of the problems they fear are the safety of the neighborhood children and the noisy street noise.
“Two families went up and down. The family across the street, who lived in an apartment building, said they would not raise their children in a house with only commercial traffic. “ he said. “The city of Marshalltown doesn’t care what is going on in the north of the city. It boils down to, ‘We just take what we want and do what we want.’ The city thought they could take advantage of a widowed woman and take whatever they want. “
Dwight Martin explained that the composition of the neighborhood has a lower income than other parts of the city and also more diverse with a stronger representation of minorities in the population.
Along with the lawsuit, Marquess said that once the city is served, an injunction will be filed preventing the city from starting construction until the case is resolved by Marshall County District Court.
“We feel that they did not work with us in good faith. They suggested coming back with Patty under the circumstances of a buyout – then they just go out with us. “ said Marquis. “Next, we know they’ll be pushing bulldozers through their yard in July. It’s hard to see the public purpose – the community’s greatest asset, when at 3 a.m. pig trucks and industrial traffic run through this poor lady’s yard and the neighbors to the north are sacrificed to develop meat packaging. We just want a fair shake. “
The project has been in progress since 2018. The city broke ground for the Edgewood Extension in September 2020. Construction of the project has not yet started as designs are still being drawn up before the project is advertised. The proposed street would direct truck traffic for the intersection of Third Avenue and Marion Streets.
A catalyst for this project is the heavy industrial traffic on Third Avenue, which resulted in several deaths.
The road is funded in part by a $ 1.6 million grant from the Iowa Department of Transportation Revitalization Scholarship, which the city received in October 2019.
When the foundation stone was laid last September, the city received a $ 2.9 million grant from the US Economic Development Agency.
The city does not comment on pending legal disputes.
Contact Joe Fisher at