Council approves purchasing rundown properties slated for demo

Galesburg City Council voted Monday night to purchase a bundle of properties in town with the intention of demolishing them.
Four of the buildings are residential, but the biggest of the bunch are two adjoined downtown commercial properties at 140 and 144 E. Main St.

Alderman Peter Schwartzman expressed concern that business owners are leaving properties empty for the city to deal with.

City Manager Todd Thompson says that typically the city will exhaust all legal remedies to hold property owners accountable, but says there reaches a point that if the city doesn’t intervene, no one will.

140 E. Main was gutted by a fire in 2014 and City Attorney Brad Nolden says the owners had no insurance.

He says had they been insured they would have had an incentive to restore the building, but as it was the owner walked with heavy losses and the downtown was left with a charred shell of a building.

Administration says left to deteriorate these buildings would negatively affect neighboring property values.

City Manager Thompson adds that TIF dollars are used for these kinds of projects, with their stated purpose being for redevelopment.

Each of the properties are being purchased for $823.

The more expensive part comes with demolition; about $270,000 for all the buildings.
City Manager Wayne Carl says a rough estimate for demolition of the downtown properties would be Spring 2020.

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