The Daily Globe - Serving Gogebic, Iron and Ontonagon Counties

 
 

IPSD assumes bigger role in Ironwood's blight fight

 


IRONWOOD — The tactics have changed in Ironwood’s blight fight.

Previously, complaints were handled by a single city blight control officer, but the Ironwood Public Safety Department took over enforcement of blight complaints in the spring.

Citizens who don’t keep their properties clean and mowed continue to face possible action from the city.

IPSD Lt. Mike Rimkus explained to city commissioners last week how the city is now responding to blighted property complaints.

Rimkus said it is a team effort. He estimated every public safety officer spends from three to five hours a week on blight complaints.

Rimkus said the IPSD has been tackling blight by dividing the city into 10 sections. When complaints are received, officers document them by taking photos of junk cars, long grass or any other blight-related issues that may be raised.

The city sent out 226 letters to property owners this summer regarding blight complaints. Of those letters, slightly more than half, or 121 property owners, complied.

Second offense letters are sent out, if needed, but Rimkus said the $75 blight fee is waived if the property owner shows some progress in responding to the original complaint.

Sixteen third offense notices were sent after there were no responses.

Four blighted parcels were listed on the last city commission agenda where no response was received in an effort to correct the eyesores. Thus the commission is considering taking action against blighted parcels at 124 N. Lake St ., 204 E. Oak St ., 201 E. Oak St. and 319 Albany St ., the latest in a long list of eyesores that have been demolished or cleaned up.

A public hearing on those four parcels has been scheduled for 5:15 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 14, in commission chambers.

Rimkus said regarding long grass complaints, there were 69 instances where the property owners complied and cut the grass and 32 in which city workers had to step in to do the mowing, to be tacked on to the tax bill of the property owners.