Residents complain about long demolition time on city-owned prop - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Residents complain about long demolition time on city-owned properties

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CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) -

In early July KWWL showed you an abandoned and vacant home sitting empty on 4th Street SW in Cedar Rapids.

The house had been sitting there since the 2008 Floods.

The property is not owned by the city, but after our story aired an ordinance passed giving the city a more proactive approach in solving abandoned and vacant properties.

However, Lisa Kuzela says the conditions of city-owned abandoned properties are unacceptable.

“I was shocked,” said Kuzela. “For the city to own properties that are not just nuisances, but a safety problem with them being wide open. The one off 4th Street didn't even have a floor in it!”

Kuzela, with the help of her friend, posted the video of the 4th Street house on YouTube.

The city-owned property at 1337 4th Street NW wasn't secure and didn't have a floor when she recorded the video on July 31st.

However Cedar Rapids Building Services Director Kevin Ciabatti says the property was indeed secure up until the day the demolition started.

“Part of the removal of that floor was to get rid of the asbestos that was in the property so that they can perform the demolition,” said Ciabatti.

Kuzela also complained about the dangers of another city-owned house in the 1400 block of 5th Street NW and again, she says it took several months for the city to do anything about what she calls a danger to the public.

“There's this blatant proof of nuisance properties that the city owns themselves,” said Kuzela. “Not so much the eye-soar that's the issue, it's the safety issue.”

KWWL went to both properties and the city had already torn down the 4th Street and 5th Avenue houses.

“Kuzela claims it happened days after she posted the videos.

“It's probably true that those properties may have sat there for a period of time. What the city does to save taxpayer dollars is to lump a number of demolitions together to save money on a unit cost basis,” said Ciabatti.

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