MASON CITY – Phillip Flinchum says he is working at a feverish pace to reach a 30 day deadline set by the Mason City council to have his property cleaned up or face eviction and demolition.
“This is so much harder than war,” Mr. Flinchum told NIT Friday afternoon. He said he was told that the city council is set to move against him once and for all on Tuesday night. About a month ago, the city narrowly awarded him a 30 day extension to have his property cleaned up or face severe consequences.
Standing outside his house, sweat dripping from his brow, dirt under his fingernails, one could sense what Flinchum is up against.
“The whole town has turned against me now. They’ve demonized me. I think they are trying to make an example of me,” he said.
Flinchum says he is an Iraq war vet, from the 1991 conflict, serving in the army.
“I saw a lot in the war,” Flinchum said, “and went through a lot. But nothing like this. Ever since the council said they were taking my house, and thanks to the newspaper, there has been non-stop people driving by, staring and gawking at me. Some people slow down and call me terrible names.”
At least two dozen cars drove by Flinchum’s house at 32 6th Street NW as he spoke Friday afternoon, in just a 20-30 minute span. Some drivers snapped pictures; nearly all rubber-necked to get a peak at Flinchum’s yard, still packed with stuff.
“I don’t know how I’ve made it this far, and we’re still going,” he said.
Friday, Flinchum and another young man were outside painting doors and windows, loading and packing boxes. Some appeared to be freshly painted. He had moved a couple of vehicles out of his yard. He also claimed that a semi-trailer in his yard is being packed and will be off his property by Sunday evening. A large trailer was nearly full of trash and debris.
“I want to be a good neighbor. I always wanted to help others, not be a burden. I need help,” Flinchum said.
To show he is serious about getting the job done and moving out, Flinchum has signed a local realtor, Ryan Burt of Schoneman Realtors, to sell the house. It is listed for $15,000. The listing states: “Home is sold as is. Needs complete remodel/restoration. Investors this would be a great winter project for your crew!” Burt can be reached at 641-430-5488.