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Council casts eye on another dilapidated house

News editor

Continuing its quest to spruce up Marion by targeting long-neglected properties, city council members turned their collective gaze Monday on a potentially hazardous Santa Fe St. house.

The large two-story distressed white house at 118 W. Santa Fe St. has a unique alcove garage, with pillars supporting the southeast corner of the second floor.

Therein lies the first major problem. Streets superintendent Marty Fredrickson provided photos showing that the two-section support columns are bowing and tilting, creating the possibility of collapse for second-floor occupants, or from a vehicle striking a column.

Fredrickson also noted in his report to council that there are areas where the foundation has failed, causing wall damage.

Additional photos showed disrepair on other portions of the house.

Fredrickson said the property is unoccupied, and he has not been able to contact the owner of record, Amy Park, to gain access to evaluate the inside of the house.

“It could be worse,” Mayor Todd Heitschmidt said. “Most likely it is. The property definitely needs some work.

Fredrickson concurred.

“The utilities have been off for two or three months, probably,” he said. “Water lines, sewer lines — I have no idea if they’re intact. I doubt if they were winterized.”

Heitschmidt asked city attorney Susan Robson to clarify a step in the process which could lead to condemnation of the property.

“It’s obvious to us even from the exterior that this property is not considered at this point livable,” Heitschmidt said. “Can we post on that, or do we have to go through this?”

“I think we need to give her notice,” Robson replied.

Council unanimously passed a resolution for a public hearing on the property to be 4:30 p.m. April 25. Should the property be condemned, the city could order Park to make necessary repairs or have the building razed.

Last modified March 2, 2016

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