- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 29, 2015

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - Waterloo officials have agreed to clean up a huge pile of rubble that is all that’s left of a clothing store that burned last year.

The City Council voted unanimously Monday to remove the mess left after the Tri-City Clothing store burned on Dec. 1, according to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier (https://bit.ly/1QJAQhw ).

The clothing store owners leased the building from Gene Waltemeyer, who still owns the property but hasn’t cleared the debris. City staffers have cited Waltemeyer, but those citations are pending a court hearing.

Mayor Buck Clark said the city had little choice but to remove the pile of junk.

“It’s an incredible health hazard and safety hazard,” Clark said. “We’ll clean it up, and then we’ll do the best we can to get our costs (recovered).”

Benton Sand and Gravel of Cedar Falls submitted a bid to remove the debris for $175 per ton. Officials believe the pile is no more than 100 tons, so that would make for a maximum cost of $17,500.

Waltemeyer had said just after the fire that he would take care of the demolition. City Attorney Dave Zellhoefer has said Waltemeyer lacked adequate insurance to cover the cleanup.

Some residents at the council meeting expressed skepticism that the city would recover those costs, but Clark and Zellhoefer promised that officials hadn’t given up on getting money from the property owner.

“We have a number of different ways to recoup, and we will,” Zellhoefer said.

Tri-City Clothing has moved to a downtown location and isn’t involved in the dispute.

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, https://www.wcfcourier.com


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