The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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September 26, 2013

Clinton houses set for demolition

CLINTON — Seven Clinton properties are slated for the city’s next round of demolitions.  

While city staff members still are in the initial phases of the process, they have identified seven properties that need to be torn down using the $100,000 allocated for nuisance building demolition.

Those properties are: 746 Sixth Ave. South, 537 Ninth Ave. South, 2382 Barker St., 309 22nd Place, 617 Third Ave. South, 2019 Camanche Ave. and 217 16th Place.

All of the properties are abandoned.  

Members of the City Services Committee on Monday agreed the houses should be put on the city’s demolition list, forwarding the list to the Committee of the Whole.

Before voting to move the list forward, at-large Councilman John Rowland asked if there was any way the city could offer these homes to people interested in rehabbing them so the city could avoid razing them.

“Tearing down houses, that’s our tax base, and that should be our last resort. I’m not against it, but I’m just thinking if we had a program, people might be able to rehab it,” Rowland said.

Fire Chief Mike Brown warned that might leave the city in a similar position. The home on Sixth Avenue South, he said, was bought for “next to nothing” at a tax sale. However, when the new owners began work on the house, they realized it was too costly, leaving the home to deteriorate.  

“Typically we get involved when there’s critters running in and out or it’s such an eyesore that people are just tired of looking at it or there’s health concerns, garbage or rubbish or whatever,” Brown said. “By the time we get to this point there’s a reason.”  

Further, City Attorney Jeff Farwell, said the city doesn’t own the home to offer it to people.

The demolition is the city’s method for dealing with the property owner’s inability to remedy a chronic nuisance. The city then places a lien on the property for the demolition costs and ends up owning the empty lot if the owner doesn’t pay the lien.  

The list still has to be approved by the full City Council before the buildings can be demolished. After full approval, a public hearing needs to happen, the projects have to go out for bid and the contracts need to be awarded.

Brown hopes to have this done in time for demolition to start this winter.

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