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Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

Ely property owner avoids ‘blight’ action by cleaning up

Keith Vandervort
Posted 10/20/21

ELY – A blight house issue was resolved by city council members here Tuesday night.A public hearing to discuss a nuisance property at 1061 E Madison St., held prior to the regular meeting, was …

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Ely property owner avoids ‘blight’ action by cleaning up

Posted

ELY – A blight house issue was resolved by city council members here Tuesday night.
A public hearing to discuss a nuisance property at 1061 E Madison St., held prior to the regular meeting, was quickly adjourned following an updated condition report by building official Doug Whitney. He reported that the owner, Greg MacCallum, and tenants Kyle and Lisa Marie MacCallum had cleaned up the property.
“We’ve been working with this property for quite some time,” Whitney said. “In looking at the updated photos for this hearing, you can see that the property has been substantially cleaned up. Originally, they had upholstered furniture on the sidewalk and stuff you didn’t want outside. The front porch was packed full of stuff. They did a really great job to clean up the property. Now, it doesn’t look a whole lot different than any other houses around town.”
Whitney described efforts by his office and the Ely Police Department throughout most of the summer in responding to complaints from neighbors. The July 27 report indicated the property and adjacent city property had household goods and debris that threatened further damage to the residential neighborhood and was an immediate threat to personal property, health and safety of any residents. The property and front porch was used to store furnishings, a toilet and appliances. A trailer frame was used for storage in the front yard. Whitney declared the property to be a public nuisance at that time.
Mayor Roger Skraba confirmed with Whitney that the property owner was in compliance with the city code, and the issue was removed from the council agenda. City Attorney Kelly Klun concurred with the move.
“Based on this report, there would be no need for an order for further compliance and the issue is resolved,” said Klun.
Council member Al Forsman added, “A lot of times we have these issues come up and they drag on and things get ugly. It is nice we can get to this (point) without any council action. Personally, it is my most hated part of this job as a city council member in dealing with these issues.”
Other business
In other business, the council:
• Agreed to interview three candidates for the assistant police chief position and will hold a special meeting for that purpose on Thursday, Nov. 4.
• Authorized the purchase of a Ford Interceptor squad vehicle for the police department from Lundgren’s for $33,031.38, with law enforcement squad outfitting for an additional $13,967.91.
• Approved a Commercial Renovation Loan for Ely Portage LLC, 18 E. Sheridan, for $17,500.
• Received a 2020 U.S. Census report that indicated a city population of 3,268, down from 3,460 in 2010. The total number of housing units in the city is 1,961, and there are 346 vacant housing units in the city.
• Approved an application from the Knights of Columbus Council 3238 to conduct Bingo games on Nov. 21 and Dec. 12 at St. Anthony’s Church.

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