City initiates court action against building owner

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – Fort Madison Mayor Matt Mohrfeld announced Friday that the city has initiated court proceedings against the owner of a building in downtown Fort Madison.

Mohrfeld said the Humphrey building on the corner of Avenue G and 8th Street is a public safety and nuisance issue and is looking for judicial intervention.

According to Lee County records, the building is owned by Bryan J. Humphrey, a former practicing attorney in Fort Madison.

“Regarding the Humphrey Building located at 732 Avenue G, the Mayor and City staff are working diligently to resolve the public safety and nuisance issues,” Mohrfeld wrote in an email to the Pen City Current Friday morning.

“We hope to have a trial date before the Lee County District Court in the next ninety days.”

He said the city will continue to work with the owner to resolve the issues, but it asking the court for assistance during the process.

“If the conditions are not abated voluntarily before trial, the City will seek a court order requiring the issues to be rectified and authorizing the City to rectify them if the defendant does not comply with the order. “

Portions of 8th Street between Avenue G and Avenue H were cordoned off last fall when structural defects were observed that could jeopardize public safety.

In November, city officials expanded the barricade to include an entire half block from Avenue G to the alley south. About a week later settling occurred causing brick facing to fall to the sidewalk inside the barricades.

Work has been done to shore up the exterior of the building and city officials said plans were submitted to shore up the interior of the structure, but Mohrfeld said at a city council meeting two weeks ago that the city wasn’t aware of how that work was progressing.

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