OELWEIN, Iowa (KWWL) -- There's quite a bit of work to be done over the course of the next few months for the city of Oelwein. They have 37 properties now in their possession, most of which have dilapidated houses on them.
In late 2019, Oelwein came to an agreement with Davey's Doin's, LLC to acquire the properties for a dollar. These properties had consistently failed rental inspections and there had been little work done to improve the properties. The proprietors of Davy's Doin"s, LLC and Oelwein agreed this deal would be best as court action would be more costly than what could be gotten for the properties.
Oelwein has a rental inspection program requiring all rental properties be registered with the city and then inspected.
“We were approached by this landlord after some inspections that weren't in the landlord's favor. He saw what was happening and he didn't have the resources or ability to get these properties into a livable condition, I should say," said Dylan Mulfinger, Oelwein City Administrator.
The city passed a resolution in October which would secure the properties and stated the city would sell off the properties that could be repaired and demolish the remaining houses.
According to a timeline in a city press release, some of the properties could be sold as soon as February in a sealed bid. The rest will have asbestos removed and then demolished.
"If there's any future for these properties, we'll certainly try to market that. If there isn't any we'll go into a tear-down. At that point, we really try and work with the neighborhood about where that lot can best be used," Mulfinger said.
The process of tearing down these houses will be expensive. The city council has developed a plan for this through a series of meetings and it's being included in this year's city budget. According to the release, the demolition could cost between $150,000 and $250,000. That money would come from local option sales tax.
Mulfinger said they don't want to tear down houses in Oelwein, but it is also an opportunity to build more modern housing for a changing population.
“Gone are the 'Leave it to Beaver' days where everyone comes home to a single family house that's perfect. I think we have to look at multi-residential as something that's going to be really important for the future of Oelwein," he said.
The entire process will take some time. There are still people living in some of the houses and the city is working to help rehouse those tenants before taking any actions on the homes.
KWWL was also able to contact the landlord. He said he and the city came to the mutual agreement. He still has possession of properties in other communities.
The agreement with the city clears Davey's Doin's, LCC from any fines or violations from the city