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City condemns 11 buildings

Effort is on to clean up the town, building inspector says

ROCK FALLS – The city condemned 11 buildings last year – mostly garages – and more structures face the same fate this spring, Building Inspector Mark Searing said.

It's all part of the city's effort to clean up and improve neighborhoods, Searing said.

Seven of the 11 were garages at 1702 13th Ave.; 607 E. Seventh St.; 1311 W. 10th St.; 625 Fifth Ave.; 611 Fourth Ave.; 1305 13th Ave. and 1107 W. Sixth St.

When a garage reaches the point of condemnation, it means the "roofs are collapsing in on them," Searing said.

"Most of these garages are pretty bad," he said. "Homeowners did not want to fix them up."

If they decide not to fix them up, it's the responsibility of the homeowner to hire a contractor and pay for the demolition, Searing said.

In addition to the garages, a grain elevator at 804 E. 10th St. was torn down, and a building at 903 Ave. D. left by oil company Kelley Williamson was condemned, Searing said.

The city also condemned two houses, at 228 Ave. E and 221 Ave. D. They were sold to a new owner who demolished them and plans to build new homes, Searing said.

"Some of these come through complaints. Some of these are just buildings as we see them in the community."

The building department will resume looking for buildings in poor condition this spring. "We're trying to clean the city up," Searing said.

Two other buildings that were condemned last year were saved: Richard Finnicum, owner of American Construction in Sterling, bought the fire-damaged home at 812 Ave. A that had belonged to Ronald Halgren. The city sold it for $450, and gave Finnicum 15 months to get it up to code.

The former Neon Moon tavern, 1515 W. Route 30, also has been brought up to code. Rock Falls resident Jeff Moore bought the building for $1,000 and turned it into an office building. Moore's hoping to be ready for tenants by the first week of March, Searing said.

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