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Building headaches

By Staff | May 31, 2015

The former SuperValu building in downtown Winnebago.

More and more abandoned buildings are popping up in Faribault County making many wonder what is going to happen to them and who is going to pay to do it?

With tax forfeited properties showing up all around Faribault County, the board of commissioners continues to plan ahead on this issue.

During their meeting last Tuesday morning the County Board discussed previous demolitions in the county as well as how they may handle similar situations in the future.

One of the most recent examples took place in the city of Winnebago when the tax forfeited Outlet Building on Main Street was deemed a hazard.

The county and the city agreed to split the cost of the demolition. After that, the county decided it would be best to create a policy for the demolition of buildings which would be used as a guide moving forward.

Now another building in Winnebago looks like it will become a forfeited property in June of this year.

“This building is moldy, it had a leak this winter and 365,000 gallons of water ran through it,” commissioner Tom Loveall said of that property.

The property Loveall described is the old SuperValu building which is also located on Main Street in Winnebago.

“We went in and looked around and got a feel for its condition,” Loveall added. “There will be some decisions coming up on whether we market it and try to sell it or get rid of it.”

However, the main point was that the commissioners felt they needed to be ahead of the game and work with the cities moving forward.

“The county needs to be at the forefront instead of being in the backseat,” commissioner Bill Groskreutz agreed.

County auditor/treasurer/ coordinator John Thompson informed the commissioners he is working on a draft of the general policy which will be brought for review at the next meeting.

“We do need to take control of it. The model we have been using is letting the city take the lead on it,” commissioner Greg Young said. “It’s not fair to say to the city administrators go put this together. We should be doing it ourselves and work with them.”

So last week, commissioners Young and Loveall met with Winnebago city administrator Chris Ziegler and councilman Scott Robertson to discuss the previous demolition and the potential demolition for the property which will be forfeited in June.

“It was a friendly but heated discussion but one thing we all agree on is that up front we need to be on the same page before anything happens,” Young said. “We need to get things lined up immediately.”

They also received an update on the previous demolition of the Outlet Store in Winnebago, which sparked the desire to have a policy in place for demolitions in the county.

“They are in the last phase of conditioning the walls (of the hardware store building),” Loveall added.

The board also heard from a family who was interested in buying back a lot in Guckeen which went to the State for non-payment.

A church currently sits on the lot but will eventually need to be torn down.

However, the County Board approved the repurchase of that lot and asked about their plans for the demolition of the church.

The family thought either a local fire department might be interested in utilizing it for a controlled burn, or the family would find a way to have the building taken down.