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Two Janesville homes up for purchase, demolition

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MARCIA A. NELESEN
May 7, 2011
— Two more houses might come down as the city continues pursuing a goal to obliterate blighted housing to improve neighborhoods.

The Janesville City Council on Monday will be asked to purchase two properties—one at 527 N. Pearl St. for $16,000 and another at 14 S. Grant St. for $13,000.


The purchases would be made with money set aside for blight elimination. The council set aside $500,000 in 2009 and $200,000 in 2010.


As of March 31, $376,000 remained in the fund.


Money returns to the account when homes or lots are sold, such as a property at 1332 Hawthorne St., said Jennifer Petruzzello, neighborhood services director.


The Pearl Street home is in poor condition, according to a staff memo. The 1,176-square-foot, two-story, single-family residence was built in 1900 and sits on two-tenths of an acre. The assessed value is $65,800, but an appraisal requested by the city came in at $16,000.


The Pearl Street lot would be maintained as vacant land for future redevelopment or divided by adjoining property owners. Any future developer would be asked to build a home using architecture sensitive to the surrounding area.


The Grant Street property is a single-story, single-family home built in 1910 and in very poor condition, according to a staff memo. The inside is gutted. Some new electrical has been installed but not completed. A representative from Blackhawk Community Credit Union, which foreclosed on the property, approached city staff because the credit union does not think the structure is marketable. The property has an assessed value of $50,200, and the assessed value of the land is $18,100.


Neighborhood services responded to the location 10 times in the past 10 years for nuisance and housing issues.


The property is in an area zoned commercial, making a single-family home a non-comforming use. The one-third acre lot would be maintained for future redevelopment.


Demolition is estimated to cost $5,000 for 14 S. Grant and $7,500 for 527 N. Pearl St.


Salvageable material would first be offered to Habitat for Humanity and then to the contractor who demolishes the property.


ON THE AGENDA

The Janesville City Council will meet at 7 p.m. Monday in City Hall, 18 N. Jackson St. It will hold an informal listening session for residents beginning at 6 p.m. Some or all council members may attend.


Items on the agenda include:


-- Possible action on a disagreement involving rights-of-way to a new development at the corner of Morse Street and Milton Avenue. Sara Investment Real Estate wants to build a gas station and fast-food restaurant there but wants access from Milton Avenue. The owner of the adjacent property—where Kwik Trip gas station operates—has protested, among other things citing congestion and the legality of using a strip of land that would give Sara Investments that access. The plan commission already has issued a conditional-use permit to Sara Investments. Marwood Corp. and Gloria Woodman have appealed the decision to the city Zoning Board of Appeals.


-- Increasing the number of reduced bus fares available for low-income riders. Staff recommends that the cap on the number of tokens be increased from 5,000 tokens annually to 12,000, effective immediately. The increase in need was seen when the city began offering the reduced tokens to the Janesville School District, the transit official said.



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