MATTOON -- The city has begun preparing to demolish three abandoned, deteriorated houses on the north central side of Mattoon if needed.
The city has given notice to anyone with ownership interest in the properties at 1016 Piatt Ave., 804 Shelby Ave., and 313 N. 11th St. that it has found the houses there to be open, vacant, and an "immediate and continuing hazard to the public." The city intends to demolish the houses and remove the debris if the owners fail to do this within 30 days.
Code Enforcement Official Matt Frederick said the badly deteriorated condition of 1016 Piatt Ave. had made it one of the worst houses in town. He said the this house is missing sections of its roof, windows and siding.
"It's barely there. The neighborhood has put up with it long enough," Frederick said. This house is located next to an alley on the north side of the street in the middle of the block.
North side resident Ron Miller said he lives near 1016 Piatt and walks his two dogs by this property almost everyday. Miller said the house there has been in bad shape for 20 years and someone took the roof shingles off of it about a year ago without ever putting on a new roof. He said grass and weeds in the lawn are usually 3 feet tall.
Miller said he will be be glad to see this deteriorated single-story house gone, an action that will be good for the entire neighborhood.
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"I hope they (the city) keeps taking down the bad houses. The ones that have sat for years," Miller said.
The 804 Shelby house is located across the street from the Roundhouse Sports Complex and the 313 N. North 11th house sits behind Darrin's Tire & Auto Repair. Frederick said these two single-story house also have sat vacant for a long time and gotten in really bad condition. Both have overgrown yards.
Frederick said the city is seeking contractor bids for the demolition of the three house and will open the sealed bids on June 14. He said the Mattoon City Council is scheduled to vote on July 2 on hiring a contractor.
If the city ends of demolishing the houses, Frederick said they will place liens on the properties and eventually foreclose, if needed. He said the city will then turn the cleared lots over to Coles County Habitat for Humanity or other interested parties.
Frederick said the city usually demolishes a few abandoned, deteriorated houses every fiscal year with funding from a 20 percent share of the city's annual revenue from video gambling machines, a share that totals about $70,000. He said this share was diverted to other city budgetary needs in 2018-2019, so no houses were demolished then.
The three houses on the north central side of town are relatively small, so Frederick said the city hopes to be able to demolish a few more later in the fiscal year as part of its neighborhood cleanup efforts.
"Those are probably not the only ones we will demolish this year, but they will be a good start," Frederick said.