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Hennepin board talks demolition status for blighted properties

HENNEPIN — It was a night occupied by legal considerations at Wednesday’s Hennepin Village Board meeting.

Village attorney Sheryl Churney updated board members regarding the demolition status of the abandoned house at 511 E. Sycamore St.

She stated that a notice that the property is subject to demolition has been placed in the newspaper Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Also, notices have been mailed to the property owner, of which one has been served. Additionally, the notice has been filed with the county clerk’s office for recording as required by statute, and a sign will be posted on the house on Thursday.

Churney explained that if the property owner disputes the village’s notice to demolish, he has 30 days to file an action against the village to try to stop it. If he does not, the village has 120 days thereafter to demolish the structures at this location.

The process “is moving forward rapidly”, she said. Consequently, Churney recommended that the board get a couple of estimates for the demolition and removal of the structures at the property for consideration at their next meeting.

“That work should be well under $25,000, so you don’t need to go through formal bid solicitations to get those options,” she said.

Churney also highlighted concerns about another neglected property in the village located at 228 E. High St.

In view of the condition of the house, with gaping holes in the foundation, Churney expressed her view that this property should be a subject of a demolition proceeding.

“With the direction of the council, I’d like to go ahead and order the title work on that, so we can send out the appropriate notices and get that moving along because that is a hazard,” she said.

After much discussion, the board authorized Churney to draft a letter to the individual known to possess personal interest in the property, along with its current owner, outlining specific actions and improvements necessary to forestall the ultimate demolition of the house.

Also, Churney has been authorized to order the title work that she recommended pursuing.

On another front, trustee Lynn Haage questioned various price increases passed on by Republic Services for curbside trash removal, which seem inconsistent with the contract the village possesses.

In view of this, with authorization from the board, Churney will send a letter regarding these matters to Republic.

In other news:

  • Village engineer Bill Shafer stated that phase one of the riverfront steps project is nearly complete. Other phases of this project will continue as weather and funding permit.
  • The board unanimously approved the purchase of Christmas decorations to begin to replace aged and degraded ones, at a cost up to $10,000.
  • At the recommendation of the Scholarship Committee, the board awarded the 2019 First Place Hennepin Vocational Grant to Annalise Sabotta, who will receive this monetary award in two installments of $600 each. In view of disqualifying course changes made after the first year by each of the 2017 and 2018 Second Place Deck Scholarship award recipients, the remainder of each scholarship shall be awarded to those next in line, according to the respective scholarship achievement reports. The remaining three years of the 2017 scholarship shall be awarded to Olivia Morris and the remaining three years of the 2018 scholarship shall be awarded to Olivia Holmes.
  • The village appreciation dinner has been tentatively set for March 7, 2020.
  • The trick-or-treat schedule is 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31, with chili, hot dogs and treats at the Fire Department at 4:30 p.m.
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