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Dilapidated buildings in Mason City to be demolished


This news story was published on October 17, 2020.
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1450-1454 North Federal Avenue, Mason City

MASON CITY – A pair of dilapidated structures in Mason City are planned for demolition, City Hall says.

The City has acquired 1450-1452 and 1454 North Federal Avenue, the dilapidated commercial buildings at the corner of North Federal and 15th Street NW, the City says in a public document. The City has contracted for asbestos testing, which is complete. The analysts found asbestos-containing material in both buildings. Staff has released an RFQ for asbestos abatement and is awaiting bids. Demolition will follow asbestos abatement.

The City has been trying for years to take down certain buildings on the North End of town.

According to the City, the problem of abandoned buildings has long been a challenge for communities. Cities now have a more effective incentive for owners to rehabilitate or demolish these problem properties. Iowa Code Section 657A.10 allows a city to petition the District Court to grant the title to “abandoned” properties to the city. If working with the owner to rehabilitate or demolish the dilapidated structure fails, the city can ask the Court to grant title to the City, free and clear of back taxes, liens, or other encumbrances. The city can then decide to demolish the structure, or find a buyer who will bring it back up to code. In 2019, the City of Mason City began a program to target long-abandoned buildings where Section 657A.10 could play a role. The owners of several of these buildings were notified that the buildings would have to be rehabilitated or demolished, or the City would petition the District Court to take title to them. In most cases, the owners of these properties have worked with the City on plans to rehabilitate the dilapidated structures and make them habitable again. A few others have agreed to demolish the structures at their own expense.

The City has been working with the owners of the remaining properties that received notices. Of these, six are either under rehabilitation, or have been brought back up to code. We have agreements with the owners of eight other properties, who intend to rehabilitate the structures and make them livable again. The remaining five properties still need to show progress; Staff is working with attorneys to ensure that these properties are remediated.

There are an additional 15 properties being considered for future action. The City says it expects to begin proceedings on them within the next few weeks.

“All in all, this has been a successful program; Iowa Code Section 657A.10 has been an effective tool to both encourage remediation of problem properties, or to remove structures that are blighting their neighborhoods,” Steven Van Steenhuyse, AICP, Development Services Director, said in the City document.

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29 Responses to Dilapidated buildings in Mason City to be demolished

  1. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 21, 2020 at 8:37 pm

    These buildings need to be torn down to make room for the kwik star on the north side of town, I heard they are building one on the east side of town after they finish the one on the west of town and they already have the one in South of town and the one they built for mercy hospital employees.

  2. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 20, 2020 at 5:13 pm

    Demolish all Russ Hardy properties! That would be a great start!

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      October 20, 2020 at 8:36 pm

      He did a great job on the re- hap of the old Dodge House. I am sure there are others.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        October 21, 2020 at 12:28 pm

        15 years later and it’s still not finished. Ya, great job. Haha

  3. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 20, 2020 at 8:46 am

    One property on the north end was fixed up with tax payers money and then trashed out within two years by the tenants.

  4. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 19, 2020 at 3:42 pm

    if you tore down everything from Fareway North, you would not lose anything

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      October 20, 2020 at 7:42 am

      If you tore down everything south of the mall the city would be much cleaner.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        October 20, 2020 at 12:15 pm

        You are both right……tear down the whole town.

        • Avatar

          Anonymous Reply Report comment

          October 21, 2020 at 12:39 pm

          Tear down the mall too, before it cost the city any more money

  5. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 19, 2020 at 3:34 pm

    To the people who want to save historical buildings – Let them go. If people wanted them saved, they would have done something before now. And why should the city care? Either the buildings are updated, made safe, livable, and up to code, or the city should use existing statutes to have them removed. It’s not difficult. It’ not rocket science. It’s just common sense, and if anyone really cares about Mason City, I believe they would be in agreement with me.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      October 20, 2020 at 1:59 pm

      You can’t get them back once you destroy them. In so many growing communities, the historic building stock is an asset that is highly sought after. At some point, people in this town will realize that beautiful architectural treasures like these are what defines ‘place’, but it may be too late when they make this realization. I can’t bear seeing this town continue to raze these buildings only to put up cheap Morton Buildings in their place.

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        October 20, 2020 at 3:18 pm

        If you could find a use for these buildings, rather than just a nice looking empty hulk, I might agree. But the historical commission wants everything saved, but for what tangible purpose? To look at? Not very practical or cost efficient. Look at the library? Put all that money for a roof, and all it’s turned into is a money sponge? And the way Markwalter has let the inside go, might as well gut it as well as tear it down.

  6. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 18, 2020 at 7:20 pm

    so what? the world revolves around the “med-city” just watch tv

  7. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 18, 2020 at 6:05 pm

    There will be a lot more people if CHINA JOE wins

    • Avatar

      HOLN1 Reply Report comment

      October 19, 2020 at 7:36 am

      you dolt , how does that compute ? Oh yeah China sleepy stutterer Joe is gonna bring back the bubonic plague by popular demand as well. I heard from a reliable source he is gonna outlaw toothpaste as well. Truly food for thought

  8. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 18, 2020 at 5:49 pm

    No don’t fix them up there junk take everything from 12th st north down and make it respectable on the north end!

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      October 19, 2020 at 3:02 pm

      There is a lot more trash in the south end. You are a prime example of that trash!

      • Avatar

        Anonymous Reply Report comment

        October 22, 2020 at 7:25 am

        quite now, you North End hood rat.

  9. Avatar

    Jonh Reply Report comment

    October 18, 2020 at 5:15 pm

    If working with the owner to rehabilitate or demolish the dilapidated structure fails, the city can ask the Court to grant title to the City, free and clear of back taxes, liens, or other encumbrances.
    This is theft of the most blatant kind. In summary the city is utilizing a tailored “legal” code to steal other people’s properties. This should not only enrage you it should encourage you to abolish these codes and officials who wrote and enact them. Stand up.

    • Avatar

      Russ Reply Report comment

      October 18, 2020 at 6:57 pm

      Or..take care of your property

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      October 19, 2020 at 2:00 pm

      Disagree. There absolutely needs to be a mechanism for cities to address derelict property because they negatively affect the entire community. If this mechanism is the city taking possession, then so be it. Put these architectural treasures into the hands of individuals that have the means to make productive use of them.

  10. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 18, 2020 at 3:57 pm

    Rather than destroy historic building stock, why not find an owner with the means to rehabilitate these buildings???

    • Avatar

      Hood Rack Reply Report comment

      October 21, 2020 at 12:27 pm

      The Steakhouse and the ball diamonds are the only thing on the North end worth saving. The rest is all trash.

  11. Avatar

    Dark rose Reply Report comment

    October 18, 2020 at 3:52 pm

    May city should start a program to help people repair their property

  12. Avatar

    Nick at Night Reply Report comment

    October 18, 2020 at 9:52 am

    Isn’t that Fat Pat’s love shack?

  13. Avatar

    Anonymous Reply Report comment

    October 18, 2020 at 1:01 am

    city needs to work to make residences look good too. not wait for someone to complain but to have city staff drive around town and find them. I know of one such in my neighborhood that sure needs help. Jim has dealt with them in the past and looks the other way as he doesn’t want to face them again.

    • Avatar

      Anonymous Reply Report comment

      October 18, 2020 at 7:48 am

      You mad lad! Expecting city workers to take any sort of initiative in performing their duties! Obvious to me ( and those around me) that you need therapy. Report to 5E for your electroshock treatments.

  14. Avatar

    Kim Gansemer Reply Report comment

    October 17, 2020 at 11:21 pm

    About time…the house across from the moose lodge looks so much better