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City decrees 'fix or we raze'

Freeborn property owners push city to the limit

Staff writer

Either a house on Freeborn Street will get major repairs within 90 days or the city will demolish it.

Marion City Council members held a public hearing and then passed a resolution Monday giving the owners of 118 S. Freeborn one last chance to make repairs.

The property has been an issue with the city since last October, when police officers went to check on the resident, Allen Church, and discovered unsafe conditions.

City Building Inspector Marty Fredrickson told council members Monday night that despite the fact that the property’s owners, Church and Paul and Elaine Morse, attended a meeting in October, Fredrickson could see no changes in the condition of the property.

“The foundation is the main concern,” Fredrickson said.

However, the building also has a water leak and is infested with mold.

“There is evidence through the window that not only is it leaking, it’s growing mold,” City Administrator Roger Holter said.

Although none of the property owners appeared Monday, Church did send a letter to Holter.

“I intend to make all repairs referred to in your letter to me,” Church wrote.

Church’s letter continued that a needed medical procedure was scheduled for Monday, and postponing it would mean a six to 12-week delay in getting it done.

Council members batted around whether the house could be brought up to code for less than half its $23,000 assessed value. Records show the land itself is assessed at $6,350.

Councilman Chad Adkins doubted it could.

“I would hate to see him put $10 or $15,000 in it and not meet what he’d have to meet,” Adkins said.

The owners have 90 days. If the house is not brought into a safe and sanitary condition, it will be demolished.

A dog park for Marion might be in the works after Margo Yates, director of Marion/USD 408 Recreation Commission, broached the idea of developing one on the north side of town.

Yates presented council members with information about landscaping and facility needs for dog parks as well as possible grant sources to develop one.

“I envision this being used by people driving down U.S. 56,” Yates said. “This is not doggy day care. That’s why there is a four-foot fence. We don’t want them to drop and shop.”

Although no vote was taken on the dog park idea, council members’ consensus was for Yates to seek more information and report to them at a later meeting.

In other matters, an employee compensation discussion was postponed to the next meeting, and council members heard that Blue Cross Blue Shield Insurance rates are going up in 2016.

Last modified Feb. 4, 2016

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