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home : news : north central illinois   May 26, 2016

11/9/2013 1:07:00 PM
Unsafe buildings downtown have Spring Valley's attention

Alicia LeGrand-Riniker
NewsTribune Reporter

Spring Valley’s city council is moving forward in dealing with abandoned and deteriorating buildings in the downtown area.

At a public health and safety committee meeting this week, city attorney Jim Andreoni said the city is gaining ground in acquiring titles for three buildings downtown that the city will either demolish or sell.

At the last city meeting, the council learned that it could purchase the tax deed for the 200 E. St. Paul St. building from Bureau County for $647. Andreoni said he checked with First American Title Co. to see if that meant the city could eventually get the title for the property.

The city plans to tear down the building because it is a safety hazard and then sell the property. That cannot be done without the title.

“I didn’t want to have a title issue,” Andreoni said.

First American said the city could get a title if it made sure the county had an official tax deed.

Andreoni said he had to double check with the county, but should have more information by Monday’s council meeting.

For the property at 202 E. St. Paul St., Andreoni said he would amend a lawsuit to declare the building abandoned and get a title that way. He said he hoped to have the issue resolved early next year. After that, the city could tear down the two buildings. Andreoni made sure the aldermen knew that once the city has the title, it cannot ask former owners to pay for demolition costs.

He reminded the council that there are TIF funds available for such a project. He said he also could file the same abandonment position on the property at 126 E. St. Paul St., which is the third building the city is looking to acquire. He said the city would have to see if it also wanted to tear the building down and suggested that it wait until the other two were demolished to do anything.

“Let’s see what our costs are there and then decide to move with the abandonment complaint to get title,” he said.

City building inspector Tim Samolinski said there also are two buildings in the 100 block of East St. Paul Street which the city might want to look at after finishing with the other buildings. Alderman Dave Pellegrini agreed that the issues should be handled one at a time.

“Maybe you can explain ‘one at a time,’” said alderman Dan McFadden.
“As long as they are not a safety issue,” Pellegrini said.

“Well they are a safety issue,” McFadden replied.

McFadden said the fire marshal called Spring Valley Fire Department to talk to them about handling possible fire issues that could arise from the property.
“I think that’s an emergency,” said McFadden.

Andreoni said he could move along with the next step to contact the owners and warn them that they needed to repair or tear down their buildings for safety reasons, and if not, the city would take legal actions.

McFadden said he believes in this case, if the city put pressure on the building owners, they will do something instead of walking away like the owners of the other buildings the city is dealing with now.

“I’m not trying to get them demolished or torn down. I’m trying to get someone’s attention to get them fixed,” he said.

Alicia LeGrand-Riniker can be reached at (815) 220-6931 or

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