Prompted by the recent collapse of the roof and interior of a downtown building, Tama businessman Ed Hardon was before the city council Monday night, July 7, to urge action. He said he feared the building located at 107 West 3rd St. was threatening an adjoining building which he owns.
"We need help," he said. Hardon said this property was not the only one in Tama which needs city attention.
Mayor Dan Zimmerman said the building owner has been given a 30-day notice to take action on the property which was vacant.
Building at 107 W. 3rd in downtown Tama termed?“unsafe” by Ed Hardon, owner of adjacent building.
Hardon questioned the city policy in place for remedies for structures which could be a danger and the legal remedies available.
City Attorney Dan Rathjen explained the lower cost and usually quicker results of Magistrate Court action opposed to District Court proceedings.
However, Hardon said a previous Magistrate Court action involving the city and the demolition of a downtown building resulted in the property owner repurchasing the then-vacant lot for $5,000 as a sheriff's sale. This occurred after the city spent some $40,000-$50,000 to tear down the building, Hardon contended.
Rathjen said it was obviously preferable for the city to have property owners bear the expenses.
He said the council had to measure the higher costs of district court action and time involved for decisions.
Hardon said he had offered to buy the 3rd Street property "for what the owner has in it" and to take it down at his own expense.
Hardon has been active in purchasing and rehabilitating a number of downtown business buildings. He is a major participant in the city's Downtown Revitalization Program.
Public Works Director John Lloyd currently acts as the city's building official. His main responsibility is the issuance of building permits.
Lloyd did say he could identify at least three houses in Tama which need to be torn down. He said the council could consider if it wants to fund some type of program to address these and other properties.