(Council Bluffs) November 2013 will mark the end of an era in Council Bluffs. Longtime Mayor Thomas P. Hanafan, who has served the City of Council Bluffs for more than three decades, has announced that he will not run for re-election. Hanafan will discuss his decision during a press conference Wednesday, March 27, at 9 a.m. at City Hall in Council Bluffs.
“I consider it an honor and a privilege to have been able to serve the great citizens of Council Bluffs for so many years,” the mayor said. “This is a proud community with a rich heritage, and as a lifelong resident I was always thrilled to be part of our success as a thriving city.”
Hanafan, often affectionately referred to as Council Bluffs’ “Mayor for Life,” has dedicated much of his adult life to serving the city where he was born and raised. A 1965 graduate of Thomas Jefferson High School, Hanafan went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in History and Government from the University of South Dakota. He was first elected to city government in 1982, earning his first seat on the city council. His colleagues on the council moved him into the mayor’s chair in January 1985, and he was elected full-time mayor in January 1988.
Under Hanafan’s leadership, Council Bluffs has witnessed dramatic growth in the shadow of a major metropolitan community. Projects and improvements completed on Hanafan’s watch include:
Quality of Life Projects: River’s Edge Park; CB Recreation Complex; Bayliss Park Renovation; CB Recycling Center; 40 miles of biking and hiking trails; planning and development of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge.
Surface Transportation Projects: Avenue G Viaduct; Hwy 92 Reconstruction; East Beltway; West Broadway Viaduct reconstruction; Interstate reconstruction; 24 th Street/23 rd Avenue construction; the sewer separation project.
Safety: Construction of a new fire station; renovations to three fire stations; new police and fire training facilities.
Downtown Projects: New Senior Center; new city library; Union Pacific Railroad Museum; Renovations of the former Daily NonPareil building and Hughes Irons Buildings; Downtown 100 Block improvements; Veteran’s Memorial site.
Commercial Developments: Harrah’s (Harvey’s Riverboat); Ameristar Casino and Hotel; Lake Manawa Center Crossing; Metro Crossing; Marketplace.
Economic Development: The new Google data center; Mid American Energy plant; relocation and expansion of Omaha Standard/Palfinger; Tyson acquisition of IBP and expansion; Con Agra acquisition of Blue Star and expansion.
Hanafan also has garnered many individual honors during his storied tenure at city hall, including: League of Iowa Municipalities Hall of Fame; Community Leader Award from the Human Services Advisory Council; Community Achievement Award from Toastmaster’s International; the Jason’s Award from Children’s Square U.S.A.; the Thomas Jefferson Hall of Fame; and the Celebrate C.B. Community Award. Hanafan was also recognized by the Omaha Press Club.
Hanafan’s civic activities include: Metropolitan Area Planning Agency, Vice President of Council Officials; United Way of the Midlands CHAD Campaign, Division Chair; Iowa West Racing Association Board of Directors, Founding Member; Rotary Club, past President; Economic Development Corporation Board; Great Places Advisory Board; Crossroads of Western Iowa Board; American Red Cross Board.