May 18, 2024

Supervisors secure representation in bridge closure case

The Clarke County Board of Supervisors on May 10 approved 3-0 retaining the legal services of Ahlers & Cooney in the case of the Reynoldson Trust v. Clarke County.

On April 8, the supervisors approved 3-0 the closure of a portion of Milo Street, including a bridge, and the award of $191,000 in damages to the Patricia A. Reynoldson revocable trust, in response to a claim filed by the trust in response to the proposed closure of the road and bridge.

May 2023 hearing

On May 22, 2023, the supervisors held a public hearing to discuss the possible vacation of the a section of secondary roads, with a legal description of: “beginning 1,375 feet west of the intersection of 230th Ave. and Milo St. running west terminating at the end of the county right of way east of Interstate 35, including Bridge No. B5255, all in the north ½ of section 31 of Fremont Township.”

The section of road to be closed is about 4 miles northwest of Osceola. The bridge is on a dead-end section of Milo Street over South Squaw Creek, near where Milo Street is cut off by the interstate.

The reason to close the bridge and section of the road was due largely to the bridge that continued to wash out, and the county no longer had a way to maintain the bridge to keep it passable.

The bridge, which was mostly wooden with metal i-beams, had been repaired in 2013, and then washed out in the spring of 2014. Replacing the bridge would cost over half a million dollars, and was not justifiable on a dirt road with no residents, just a little over 70 acres of land.

Since the bridge washed out in 2014, the road has been closed, and the supervisors have been working to resolve the ten-year plus situation.

At the May 2023 public hearing Kirke Quinn, attorney for the Patricia A. Reynoldson revocable trust, filed a claim for the property owned by the trust in which he stated that by closing the road, it would leave the property landlocked, and decrease its value. At the time, the only way to access the land was to go through a neighbor’s land. The claim filed by Quinn showed damages valued at $299,675. An appraisal had previously been done with the cost split between the county, the Patricia A. Reynoldson revocable trust and another property owner who would be affected by the closure.

At the May 22 meeting, the supervisors decided to table any action at that time in the matter.

The supervisors later hired Iowa Appraisal Company to assess the land, with both access and non-access to the Patricia A. Reynoldson revocable trust land, which came back at $191,000.

April 2024

On April 8, the supervisors held a meeting looking to resolve the Milo St. bridge and road, as well as address the claim filed by the Patricia A. Reynoldson revocable trust. Representatives of the trust, as well as others who live near Milo St., were in attendance.

“I was to reiterate, this farm is a decent farm…I’m going to re-urge you again not to close this road, put the bridge in. Make it serviceable for this farm,” said Quinn.

A neighbor who allows the Patricia A. Reynoldson revocable trust to go through his land spoke at the meeting, stating that while he will continue to allow the current owners access, he would not be able to grant an easement as the land would be in CRP, or allow anyone else to access it should the land’s ownership change hands. Both the neighbor and RaeAnne Frey Marner, one of the plaintiffs for the trust, stated that the only way to access the ground otherwise would be by use of an ATV or UTV.

Marner asked if the board had any consideration in purchasing her land, and supervisor Austin Taylor replied that the meeting at present was only to consider the claim filed. Further discussion clarified that if the road was closed, it would not be maintained by the county.

Supervisor Dean Robins made a motion to vacate and close the portion of Milo St. as described above, and to award the $191,000 in damages to the Patricia A. Reynoldson revocable trust. Supervisor Randy Dunbar seconded the motion. After the resolution passed, Quinn said they would be filing an appeal.

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.