homepage logo

A tale of 3 buildings

By Staff | Nov 9, 2014

While the city of Blue Earth settled a lawsuit over the demolition of one building, they also voted to move forward with getting bids for taking down another one.

The lawsuit had been filed against the city by Blue Earth Environmental, a business in Blue Earth County.

The city of Blue Earth had contracted with Blue Earth Environmental to demolish the Avalon Center building two years ago.

“The contract called for payment of $36,500,” says city attorney David Frundt. “With half paid upon the demolition of the structure and the other half, $18,250, to be paid when removal of the debris, hauling in dirt, grading and seeding had been done per the desire of the city.”

It was the city’s position the grading and seeding was never done, Frundt says, so the city did not pay the second half amount and B.E. Environmental sued.

At last Monday’s City Council meeting, the council went into closed session to hear an update from Frundt.

When they came out of the session, Frundt reported that the city and the company had reached a settlement.

“The city will agree to pay the company $11,000 (of the $18,250) in exchange for the company dropping the lawsuit,” Frundt said.

The council voted unanimously to accept the settlement.

The other building in question is the former Ankeny Radiator Repair building located directly across the street from City Hall. Part of the roof has collapsed and is threatening to damage the adjoining buildings.

After looking at an engineer’s report on the building, the council voted to get bids for demolition as soon as possible.

Bids will be opened at a special meeting of the council Nov. 1, with a start date on the contract of Dec. 1.

Originally the council discussed giving the contractor 30 days to tear down the structure. But, one councilman had other ideas.

“I think we should only give them 20 days,” councilman John Huisman said. “We don’t want them going into the new year.”

Huisman said the quicker the building is down, the better.

County commissioner Greg Young who was at the meeting agreed.

“This needs to be done as quickly as possible,” Young says. “Any amount of snow load on that roof and the whole thing is going to come down.”

The county, which actually owns the building because they took it back for tax forfeiture, has agreed to pay for half of the demolition of the building, up to an amount of $10,000.

Both Young and the council expressed concerns about the two structures on either side of the Ankeny building.

Tom and Nancy Willette own the building on the west side and were in attendance at the meeting. The building on the east side is occupied by Spencer, Barke, Viesselman Law Office.

The Ankeny building and the law office share a common wall. While the Ankeny and Willette buildings do not share a wall, the Willettes will have to finish off their outside wall after the demolition.

Tom Willette said they plan to put steel siding on the wall of their building just as soon as the other structure is removed.

The council received one more piece of information about another building in the city.

The documents transferring ownership of the Ag Center complex from Bevcomm to the city’s economic development auth- ority (EDA) were all signed on Friday, Oct. 31.

“As of Nov. 1, the EDA is now the owner of the property,” attorney Frundt told the council. “The city continues ownership of the Little Giants part of the building, but now the EDA owns the rest of it.”

Frundt said there was one issue with a previous document between the city and Bevcomm concerning easements, covenants and conditions that needed to be rewritten and he presented that document to be ratified by the council, which they did.

“The check from Bevcomm for $25,000 to the EDA for any contingency issues has also been received and deposited,” Mayor Rick Scholtes said. “The new fund and billing procedure at City Hall has also been set up.”

The next step, council members said, was for the EDA to meet and go over the procedures for operating the business complex. That they will do at their next meeting, set for Nov. 13.