Archived Story

City buys ‘problem property’ [UPDATED]

Published 10:35am Tuesday, December 4, 2012 Updated 10:56am Tuesday, December 4, 2012

After a property evaluation revealed that a house on West Bancroft Avenue would cost $50,000 to $60,000 to bring up to housing standards, the Fergus Falls City Council made the rare decision to purchase the property with the intent to demolish the house this summer.

The property at 225 West Bancroft Ave. has been a “problem property” for more than 20 years, and the house has now been considered a hazardous building, said community development director Gordon Hydukovich.

The homeowner agreed to sell the property to the city for $15,000, and demolition will cost $5,000 to $6,000. The purchase agreement will give the current owner salvage rights prior to June 1, but after that time, anything remaining will be demolished.

This is not a typical situation, but council members agreed this is an extreme situation, and something needs to be done.

City attorney Rolf Nycklemoe explained the alternative to purchasing the property would be to go through an extensive legal process that would take years. Hydukovich and Nycklemoe recommended taking more immediate action and the council agreed.

  • Jeremy Jenkins

    I would be interested in what makes it a problem property….just bothers me in a way how easy we throw money at a problem to make it go away…wish I had that luxury…no wonder we r in the state we r in these days….

  • The Derp Squad

    I don’t know about you, but this property is a block from Adam’s School, not very far from the Hospital/cancer center, and is in what should be a great residential neighborhood. It hasn’t had running water/sewer for many years, due to the owner’s lack of payment on city utility bills, up until recently it had abandoned/rusting/dilapidated vehicles in the yard, and that’s just part of the situation…

    This house is falling apart, the basement has flooded and not been taken care of (effecting neighboring properties’ land/etc) It’s just…a cluster of bad things and should have been taken care of by the owner YEARS ago, but either by lack of funds, or other reasons, it was never done. It’s been a problem my whole life (almost 26 years) so…look into it a bit more first, before commenting.

    I do agree it shouldn’t have come to city dollars being spent, but sometimes the other options have been expended…because nobody will buy the property, much like the old flour mill.

  • Gary Llewellyn

    I think most folks in town are familiar with the owner of this house, and how he has ignored orders to clean up his property several times over the years. He was also the owner of a dog that bit a postman and a police officer several years back – I believe it was eventually put down.

    The city has been way too passive-agressive in this matter. They needed to condemn the house as a public nuisance/hazard, get his butt out of there and then charge him for the demolition costs. Not pay him a fair price for his property and then take care of everything else on the backs of other residents.

    “An extensive legal process that could take years.” Only in Fergus Falls.

    I think I’m going to buy a cheap house, heat it by burning garbage in the bathtub, store dead animals in the basement and open up a used toilet emporium in the front yard. I’ll probably get away with it for about 20 years or so before they offer to buy the house from me and take me out to a steak dinner, compliments of the city.

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