OELWEIN — TJ Stammeyer owns property at 511 First Avenue NE and wanted the house next door to her at 513 First Ave. NE, torn down. The house had been an eyesore for some time, on the block of otherwise well-kept properties.
She learned that Oelwein has Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP) funds available to help with the cost of repairing or removing dilapidated structures.
Demolition assistance grants will help with up to 50 percent, with a limit not to exceed $5,000, through the NRP. Application deadlines are quarterly, Jan. 1, April 1, July 1 and Oct. 1, each year.
Stammeyer applied for demolition grant assistance from the city and also provided three demolition bids as required in the application process.
Part of the process of applying for demolition grant assistance is researching the property. Stammeyer knew the house had been vacant for some time and checked into the utility history, finding that the last utility service to the property was at the end of June in 2017. The house was in serious disrepair and the cost to repair/rehabilitate it exceeded its value, which she noted in the grant application.
All grant applications are reviewed and prioritized by the City Council. At the June 22 Council meeting, Stammeyer’s demolition grant of $5,000 was awarded.
Bryan Construction of Oelwein had the low bid for the teardown project at $9,000.
Stammeyer said she and boyfriend Ryan Shaffer plan to expand the back and side yard.
“We have a fence ready to go. If it’s not too hot we will get that started this weekend,” Stammeyer said. “We will also be putting new siding on the garage.”
She said the application process with the city was pretty straight forward and easy to accomplish, but you have to have patience because everything takes a while to go through the channels and get approved.
“We are very excited to start this project and be a part of enhancing the neighborhood we live in. Oelwein is a wonderful town,” she said.
More house demolitions will begin in Oelwein at the end of July when Lansing Brothers Construction gets started on their contract with the city to take down 41 properties. Asbestos removal on those properties is slated to begin July 20.
After houses pass asbestos mitigation, the demolitions begin. Chad Lansing, representing the construction company, told the City Council at its last meeting that they can take down the properties at a rate of approximately two per week. Their low bid for the total demolition project was just under $400,000.
City Administrator Dylan Mulfinger also reported Brewer Construction will begin work on the Homes for Iowa project later this month. This project will bring in two pre-constructed ranch-style homes to be placed on prepared basements at two already-determined locations in town. Brewer was awarded the construction contract for the two basements, electrical, plumbing, etc., at the last Council meeting.
“There’s a lot going on with community development this summer,” Mulfinger said.