- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

BURLINGTON, Iowa (AP) - The Burlington City Council is considering buying a historic downtown building for $1 and transferring ownership to an organization that can restore and sell the structure.

The Hawk Eye (https://bit.ly/1OC2UUi ) reports that the council discussed the possible sale on Monday in preparation for its Dec. 7 regular session.

The structure is on the National Register of Historic Places.

The building, which was tagged by the city’s development department as dangerous and abandoned, is owned by Karel Van Haeften. Burlington Development and Parks Director Eric Tysland says Van Haeften will only sell the property to Burlington, not a private purchaser, for $1 before the start of the year.

Tysland suggested that the city could sell the building for a reasonable price. According to Tysland, the city could pursue a state code which gives it the authority to take the building’s title if a district judge rules it dangerous and abandoned. The city would then be responsible for repairing it, demolishing it or finding a buyer-developer.

According to the director, Van Haeften decided to bypass that process by offering to sell the building. Tysland says the $1 purchase would save the city legal fees from pursuing the state code.

If the council buys the building, it may give it to Downtown Partners Inc., which can restore the building. The organization’s task force is set to discuss the project on Friday.

Councilwoman Becky Anderson says the organization could apply for a $15,000 to $100,000 Challenge Grant from Main Street, a national organization which works to preserve and repurpose historic buildings. The grant requires a one-to-one match.


Information from: The Hawk Eye, https://www.thehawkeye.com

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