MASON CITY – The Mason City council is set for a work session Wednesday to discuss what the city is calling “vacant or dilapidated commercial properties” along the North Federal corridor.
The city appears to be moving in advance (or possibly in conjunction) with a petition that has been circulating and spearheaded by local realtor Pam Hildebrand.
Leading up to Wednesday’s work session, the city has been chiding local landlord Russ Hardy for an extended period of time to clean up or fix some if his properties on North Federal. He had been given a deadline last year to repair commercial buildings at the 1300 block of North Federal Avenue. The city council gave Mr. Hardy a deadline of this past March to finish the work or face potential demolition. The deadline came and went, and no action was taken by the council. NIT is told that behind the scenes, Mr. Hardy made a new agreement with the city which required he meet certain other criteria at certain dates, and he has met all of the deadlines.
However, the city is again zeroing in on his properties and others on North Federal Avenue, as outlined in Pam Hildebrand’s petition.
Mason City’s Ozzie Ohl (the “One Man Think Tank”) described the petition this way: “Pam is really working hard with the North End Partnership to revitalize and improve the commercial business district between 9th Street and 15th Street on North Federal. She has a petition started to get the city to do everything in their power to make this happen. She has been going door to door on the north side.”
Ohl continued by saying “Hwy 65 North is a gateway entrance to our community. A few of those buildings are terrible eyesores, structurally unsound and quite possibly pose health risks too. Petitions are available to sign at Hildebrand Real Estate, Pro’s, LD’s, Butcher’s, Coffee Cat, Northwestern Steak House, Cook’s Cafe and the Past Time Garden.”
Petitioners claim to have several hundred signatures and are gathering more. This petition may be presented at Wednesday’s council work session.
The council appears to be zeroing in on five properties: 1011 North Federal; 1410 North Federal; 1425-1419 North Federal; 1450 and 1454 North Federal; and 1343 to 1333 North Federal Avenue. In city documents, city staff appear to be looking for ways to force the property owners to fix up their properties. Some of the owners can’t be reached; others are said to be too broke to do the repairs; others, like Russ Hardy, are working with the city, but apparently not fast enough.
More on this developing story to come.