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The Daily Register - Harrisburg, IL
  • City getting more aggressive at wiping out blight

  • Trick or Treat hours set
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  •  Another vacant house is coming down after the Kewanee City Council approved the only bid of $11,855 from Ratliff Bros. & Co, Inc., Tuesday, to demolish and remove a dilapidated house and accessory buildings at 827 Wilson St.
    The vacant eyesore is the 14th house in the past four fiscal years to be targeted and demolished by the city.
    A total of $73,656 has been spent in an increasingly aggressive effort by the city to eliminate unsightly property from the city.
    City Manager Kip Spear explained that the property at 827 Wilson St. has been an ongoing nuisance for at least the last 18 months.
    He said the bid was more than twice the $4,000 to $5,000 the city usually spends on house demolitions because the topography prevented on-site loading of debris and additional trucking will be needed for removal.
    A large tree also needs to be removed which also added to the cost.
    Debris will be hauled by Ratliff’s to certified landfills outside of town and not go through Kewanee’s transfer station.
    The city obtained title to the property in lieu of filing a demolition order in the 14th Judicial, Circuit, Henry County Court.
    According to the resolution passed by the city council, the work must be completed withing 20 days after notice to proceed has been received by the contractor.
    Figures for the city’s last four fiscal years (May 1 to April 30) provided by the city manager show that in both FY2010 and FY2011, the city took action on two houses each year. In 2010, a total of $11,330 was spent demolishing two houses, and in 2011, $8,749 was paid for removal of two houses.
    In FY2012, the number of houses torn down and hauled away jumped three times, to six, at a combined cost for the year of $26,637.
    To date, in FY2013, four houses have been contracted for removal, including the one on Wilson Street acted on by the city council Tuesday night.
    The amount spent, thusfar, is $26,940, including the most recent bid. According to the figures, the most recent demolition cost of $11,855 is the highest paid in the past four fiscal years. Most houses were demolished for between a low of $3,600 (FY2012) and a previous high of $5,985 (FY2013) for the last house torn down by the city.
    Spear said the costs were for the demolition cost for each site.
    He said there are typically “a couple hundred dollars” more in fees for each site related to court filing costs, service of notice fees and publication of notices in the newspaper. He said the city has budgeted $30,000 to cover the costs for the year.
    Several announcements were made at Tuesday night’s city council meeting, postponed one day by the Columbus Day holiday.
    Page 2 of 2 - Dried landscape waste burning season is now open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, weather permitting.
    For detailed information, call city hall at 852-2611 and press Option 6, or check the city’s website at www.cityofkewanee.com.
    The annual fall cleanup by cemetery staff in Kewanee cemeteries is scheduled to begin Oct. 20 and end Oct. 31. During this period all decorations will be picked up and discarded. Anyone wishing to save their decorations must pick them up BEFORE Oct. 20. The cemetery department asks that no new decorations be put out until after the cleanup period has ended. The cleanup applies to Pleasant View, South Pleasant View, Mount Olivet, St. Mary’s, Old Kewanee, Russian and Wethersfield cemeteries. If there are any questions, contact the sexton’s office at 853-4649.
    Trick or treat hours for Halloween will be held on Wednesday, Oct. 31, from 5 to 7 p.m. Residents should turn their porch light on if they wish trick or treaters to stop.
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