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City of Boscobel assumes control of downtown property
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The Boscobel Common Council voted Monday to cut its losses and assume ownership of the condemned Riddett property at 1021 Wisconsin Ave. in the city’s downtown business district.

“By doing this you have nothing to lose, but several things to gain,” City Administrator Arlie Harris told Council members. “This stops the taxes from accumulating and gives you guys control over the property.”

The city issued a raze order for the property on Oct. 11, 2011 after Building and Zoning Administrator Dennis Hampton determined that the building was “…old, dilapidated and out of repair to the extent that it is dangerous, unsafe, unsanitary or otherwise unfit for human habitation, occupancy or use and that it is unreasonable to repair.”

The former Hawkshead Gallery was demolished in early 2012 at a cost of just under $30,000 to the city. At the time, city officials believed Grant County would reimburse the city as they had in the past for condemned properties. That proved not to be the case.

“Everything that goes into this we have to pay up front,” Harris said at the time. “Then in November it goes to the county and that’s when we’ll get our money back. There will be lien on the property and the county will probably end up with it.”

However, following a large claim from the village of Blue River the county decided to discontinue the practice of reimbursing communities for the cost of demolition and removal of condemned properties.

“That $30,000 that you see on that sheet, that’s been paid; you’re not going to get that back,” Harris told the Council Monday. “The county no longer reimburses municipalities. We can’t get our money back. The process is the same, it’s just that Grant County pulled out of it.”

Library interested

The city could recoup some of its losses by selling the property, but it won’t be anywhere near $30,000. Library Director Robin Orlandi appeared at Monday’s meeting and expressed interest in the property, which is located just north of the library.

“From the library’s perspective, that lot has value because we’re out of room upstairs,” Orlandi said. “From my perspective it benefits the library and the city. You have two adjacent lots.”

No decision was made Monday on the future of the property.

Theft law updated

The Council did approve amending the city’s theft ordinance with regard to bad checks and insufficient funds or the removal of property. Fines range from $5 to $500.

“This new ordinance is going to be more in-depth as far as the money amounts,” Police Chief Todd Stenner said. “Our old ordinance hadn’t been updated in many years. This will follow more in line with state statutes.”

In other action, the Council:

• Approved a request from the United Methodist Church for assistance with a 5-K run on May 18;

• Approved a request from the Boscobel Antique Club to hold tractor pulls on West Oak Street May 4 and July 6;

• Approved the following bartender’s licenses: Mary Wareing, Central House; Casy Lawver and Glenn Updike, Jr., Tall Tails Sports & Spirits.