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Derelict home to be repaired

Staff writer

A house that’s been a thorn in the side of Marion city council for seven months has been purchased by a new owner who is in the process of fixing it up, and another house under city scrutiny might be next.

The issue arose last year when police officers went to check on then-resident Allen Church and discovered unsafe conditions. City building inspector Marty Fredrickson reported to the council in February that despite the fact that the property’s owners, Church and Paul and Elaine Morse, had earlier promised to resolve the issue, he could see no changes in the condition of the property. Council members then gave the owners 90 days to complete repairs or the house would be demolished.

The house changed hands last week.

“There was a deed recorded in our office April 19 from Paul R. and Elaine M. Morse, and Al Church, doing business as Al’s Home Repair,” said assistant county registrar Rebecca Wingfield.

Wingfield said a quitclaim deed gave the house to Jason Schafers, 309 S. Coble St.

Schafers has been working on the Freeborn property as he has time.

After hearing the update on the ownership change, council members decided that if Schafers does not have the house up to code by May 11, he should bring the council a plan and a bond to guarantee the work.

Grosse, who has rehabilitated three Marion houses to sell to new owners over the last couple of years, might purchase a dilapidated house at 118 W. Santa Fe.

Grosse said the house, owned by Amy Park, has promise if it is taken on as a project.

“I was talking about buying it, I haven’t made up my mind,” Grosse said. “I’m trying to keep Marion alive. It’s a cool house and I want to make it nice again.”

The house’s condition was originally brought to the council’s attention Feb. 29 by Fredrickson, who showed photos of the property and reported he hadn’t been able to contact Park to enter the property. Council members at that time passed a resolution calling for a public hearing to show cause why the house should not be condemned and ordered repaired or demolished.

Although no one appeared to speak at Monday’s public hearing regarding the property, city administrator Roger Holter read a letter from Grosse saying he plans to purchase the house and rehabilitate it.

Council members voted to demolish the house in 60 days unless someone comes forth with a bond to prove he can complete the work.

Last modified April 28, 2016

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