- Associated Press - Saturday, May 24, 2014

DAVENPORT, Iowa (AP) - In a plan to save a historically significant house in Davenport’s Gold Coast neighborhood, city officials are moving to condemn the dilapidated property.

The landmarked home, built in 1857, has deteriorated over the years, leading the city’s inspection services department to cite it for deficiencies in 2009 and declare it unfit for occupancy in 2010, the Quad-City Times reported (https://bit.ly/1miVZ4q ). It was boarded up, and temporary rolled roofing was nailed on in late 2012.

Last week, the city council passed a resolution to condemn it.

The goal of condemnation is to take possession of the home, then enlist the help of a group called Friends of 510 that would secure the house and restore it, Davenport Alderman Bill Boom said.

Boom said it’s the first time the city has moved to acquire an abandoned house through condemnation as a way of saving it.

Other cities - including Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Dubuque - have used the state law for that purpose.

“This is a new frontier for all of us,” Alderman Ray Ambrose said. “We have tried to reach out to (the owner) on a friendly basis. We have offered city assistance.”

Neighbors and the city have been offering the owner help for years, officials say.

On April 9, city representatives hand-delivered an offer to buy the house for $34,000 to the owner. That amount was determined during a recent appraisal conducted outside the house, because the owner refused to allow the appraiser inside.

The owner declined the offer.

Now, the city’s legal department will draft the application to condemn that will be presented to Scott County District Court.

A judge will select a six-member commission with real estate and financial backgrounds to sit in on a compensation hearing. The city will present what it thinks the property is worth and the owner can present his side, assistant city attorney Brian Heyer explained.

The commission then will determine the fair market value of the property, and the amount would be deposited with the Scott County Sheriff’s Department in the owner’s name.

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Information from: Quad-City Times, https://www.qctimes.com


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