- Associated Press - Saturday, June 4, 2016

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) - Marshalltown officials have learned that asbestos will have to be removed from five properties in the city, temporarily halting the planned demolition and clearance of those properties.

The City Council had already approved the demolition and clearance bids on the properties when it learned of the asbestos, the Times-Republican reported (https://bit.ly/1VwBQLp ).

The asbestos will be removed as soon as possible, City Housing and Community Development director Michelle Spohnheimer said.

“We do not have an estimated date when it will be completed,” he added.

Asbestos is a material that was often used for building insulation in the 20th century before its toxicity to human health was discovered.

The demolition of the properties is part of a Marshalltown program established last year in response to the approximately 14 “dangerous and dilapidated” properties city officials want repaired or demolished. The program is modeled after one in nearby Newton, which has demolished 48 residential and commercial properties. The program was by far the most popular Newton has undertaken, Newton city officials told Marshalltown officials.

Under the program, property owners receive notices giving them an opportunity to repair the properties before they’re demolished by the city. There is no property transfer to the city; the property owners retain ownership of the lot.

The city opted to move ahead with demolition in Marshalltown after the deadline issued to the five property owners passed with no action to improve the properties.

Demolition costs could range from $5,000 to $30,000 per property, officials said.

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Information from: Times-Republican, https://www.timesrepublican.com


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