The city orders 4 houses to be demolished

Published 9:14 am Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Albert Lea City Council on Monday ordered the removal of four dilapidated properties.

The properties, which have been deemed unfit for human habitation, are the following:

• 419 Commercial St.

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City staff placarded this property in December 2006. A followup inspection in May found the foundation was defective, siding was missing, roofing was missing, windows and trim were rotting, and the east wall was nearly collapsed, according to background information provided by the city. The property has no utilities to the building.

• 409 Euclid Ave.

This property was placarded in July 2005 and again in 2010.

After sending a letter to the owner in May, Albert Lea Fire Capt. Mark Roche discovered the property had been foreclosed on. The property is slated to become property of the Federal National Mortgage Association, aka Fannie Mae, by April 2014.

The house has bowed walls, stucco that is falling off, a roof that is falling in spots, some windows that are rotting and an interior filled with “junk,” according to city information.

• 705 Madison Ave.

City staff placarded this property in 2008 and found a crumbling foundation, unsafe landings and steps, missing siding, damaged windows and trim and a rotting garage.

The property was re-inspected in June and found to have become worse.

• 218 E. Seventh St.

Staff placarded this property in 2002.

Its problems are damaged foundation, siding, roofing, soffit and fascia, rotting windows and debris on the property.

The owner has consented to having the property removed with the costs to be assessed to the property.

Roche said with the approval of the removals Monday, the action next goes to Freeborn County District Court. In about 45 days, a judge will order the removals. If no one responds to the final notices of removal, the demolition will probably begin in December.

Each house cost about $10,000 to demolish.

Albert Lea Mayor Vern Rasmussen said if people do not agree with the council’s efforts to clean up the city, they should contact him or their city councilors.

In other action, the City Council:

• Awarded a $569,000 contract with Harty Mechanical Inc. of Austin to renovate City Hall’s heating and cooling system.

The city received two bids for the project, the one from Harty Mechanical and another from Jim & Dudes for $848,000.

The council is required to take the low bid under state statute.

• Approved a conditional-use permit for the Shell Rock River Watershed District to construct a fish barrier in the floodplain district of the city.

• Approved a grant agreement with Scott Boyer for restoration to the back doors of three adjoining buildings at 123, 125 and 131 Broadway. Boyer was previously awarded one grant but sought grants for all three properties.

He requested up to $2,500 for each property.

• Called a public hearing for Oct. 14 regarding the final assessments for the 12th and 13th streets improvements, the improvements on Katherine and West Hawthorne streets, the sanitary sewer improvements for the Hill’s Garden area, the reconstruction of Broadway, street projects on Fourth Avenue and West Ninth Street and street projects in the Shoreland Heights neighborhood.

• Called a public hearing on proposed assessments for the parking maintenance district downtown for assessments incurred from Aug. 1, 2012, through July 31.

• Designated hours at the city’s skate park from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week.

• Amended the city’s sick leave policy.

• Amended the city’s Family and Medical Leave Act policy.