With Increased Downtown Investment, Beatrice Dilapidated Buildings Remain

BEATRICE – Just a few years after passing ordinances to encourage code compliance with some deteriorating buildings, Beatrice City officials say problems remain….and, they’re impacting property owners who have improved their buildings.

Community Development Officer Rob Mierau says staffing shortage has prevented full enforcement of the new ordinances. It’s taken more than one round of letters since 2016, to seek owner compliance.

:22                  “said and done”

The Beatrice Mayor and City Council discussed what might be done to solve a problem where chronic code violations are impacting nearby building owners.

City Councilman Mike McLain said a lot of investment has been made in recent months, in the downtown.

:21                  “those people”

The poor condition of some buildings may also be preventing an adjacent building owner from making improvements, fearful of the property next door collapsing.

Currently, two buildings have been condemned in the downtown area….at the southwest corner of 4th and Court, and in the four-hundred block of Court.

Main Street Beatrice Executive Director Michael Sothan says the key is addressing problems before code violations become so bad, that repair or investment is not feasible.

:28                  “years in the making”

Sothan says many communities focus on incentives for building owners to make repairs or invest in their structures, while still having some enforcement measure.

Councilman Rich Kerr wonders how the city can address problems much earlier.

:26                  “turning that tide”

Sothan says most of the buildings where the worst problems exist are owned by people who either live in Beatrice or not far from the city.

:23                  “their neighbor”

Mayor Stan Wirth suggested mandatory inspections might be one step toward addressing the problem.

City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer says one issue with such inspections is that those conducting them can’t turn a blind eye to additional problems that may be uncovered.

City officials and Main Street Beatrice have been holding periodic meetings on the problem of dilapidated properties.  For now, those meetings will continue with the hope of generating new ideas.

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