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Council relents on demolishing house

Staff writer

Donald Wilson hoped for relief from Marion City Council members Monday after city inspector James Masters showed council members photos of a house at 202 Miller St. that Wilson has been working to rehabilitate.

The house, owned by his mother, Deliliah Belshe, was ruled a nuisance property in October, and the council voted to seek demolition bids.

Wilson was told he had until Dec. 27 to show council members he had made enough improvements that the house should not be demolished.

He showed up at the Dec. 27 meeting to find out whether the council would continue with its threat to bulldoze the house, but Masters did not appear at that meeting to give council members an update.

When Masters spoke to council members Monday, he showed photos of the house, from the way the house was when it first came onto the city’s radar screen until the way it was Monday morning.

After seeing the photos, council members gave Wilson another 60 days to complete the work.

The main things that needed to be done were removal of a dilapidated outdoor staircase leading to a sealed-up second floor door and the filling in of an old cistern in the back yard.

Wilson removed the top of the cistern but told council members the cistern earlier had been filled in so solidly that he was unable to dig into it.

The stairway has been removed although it is still in the back yard waiting to be taken to the transfer station.

Problems with stairs, cleanup, and roof support remain to be addressed.

In another housing discussion, Kristen Wewe, real estate agent with Lange Real Estate in Wichita, spoke to council members about taking over a Coble St. housing development that was abandoned by a previous construction company that built two of five houses there.

Wewe said Lange would use a Kansas Housing Resources Corp. program that would provide $160,000 in down payments toward four houses it proposed to build. The program is designed for middle-income families.

The houses would be about 1,700 square feet and probably sell for $190,000 to $240,000.

As part of a proposed agreement between Lange and the city, the city would deed over the parcels to Lange, which would need to begin work on all four parcels within a month and a half of when the plots were deeded over.

Lange would build the houses on speculation and sell them to qualifying buyers.

“What we’re proposing is to be able to help you realize this grant and get the ball rolling,” Wewe said.

Council members agreed to discuss the proposal again Jan. 22.

Interim police chief Zach Hudlin told council members that Peyton Heidebrecht, who joined the police department in November after working six months with the sheriff’s office, had resigned. Before joining the sheriff’s office, Heidebrecht worked for Hillsboro Police Department.

Heidebrecht no longer wants to work in law enforcement, Hudlin said.

Mayor Mike Powers, sworn in Monday, said he has been talking to a former city manager who might be interested in being Marion’s interim city administrator.

City administrator Brogan Jones submitted his resignation in November. His last day will be Friday.

Powers suggested a special open meeting be set for the council to meet the candidate. Council members agreed to the idea, but a specific date was not set.

Last modified Jan. 10, 2024

 

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