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With no apparent owner, Fargo may have to demolish dangerous home itself

This house seen Monday, Dec. 18, 2017, at 1410 1st Ave. S., Fargo, was deemed too dangerous to occupy. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor1 / 4
This 120-year-old house seen Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, at 1011 5th Ave. S. in Fargo’s Hawthorne neighborhood has been deemed too dangerous for occupation. Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor2 / 4
A hole in the kitchen ceiling of the house at 1011 5th Ave. S., Fargo, is shown in this October photo taken by city inspectors. Inspectors say the house is a "dangerous building" not fit for occupation. Special to The Forum3 / 4
The house at 1410 First Ave. S., Fargo, is considered too dangerous to be lived in by the city's inspections division, which provided this photo taken Nov. 6, 2017. Special to The Forum4 / 4

FARGO — City leaders have ordered the demolition of a dangerously dilapidated home in the Jefferson neighborhood but nobody has stepped forward to claim ownership, which could force the city to pay to have it done.

Bruce Taralson, who runs the inspections department, told the City Commission Tuesday night, Jan. 2, that his staff has spoken to banks that might have some claims on the building at 1410 1st Ave. S. but none want it.

He said he's asked city leaders to set a deadline of a month and a half — that's Feb. 20 — in hopes someone will claim it.

The last owner, Mable Kruesel, died in June 2016. Tax records show she was the one paying taxes rather than a mortgage company, suggesting she owned the home outright.

City Attorney Erik Johnson told city leaders if no other person or firm claims the home, the city would have to pay for the demolition and assess the cost to the property. Along with unpaid property taxes, he said, that will give the county reason to hand the property over to the city for resale to recoup costs.

According to the city assessor's office, the land is valued at $8,700.

The city has already had to pay the cost of boarding up the home, Taralson said, after police heard complaints of vagrants moving in.

Also Tuesday night, city leaders extended the deadline for demolition of another dangerously dilapidated home, this one 1011 5th Ave S. in the Hawthorne neighborhood.

City leaders last month set a 30-day deadline for the building's demolition by the owners, Pretium Mortgage Acquisition Trust. But the city has learned of a new owner who wants to demolish the building, according to Taralson, and a deadline of Feb. 20 will allow that to happen.

City Commissioners John Strand and Tony Grindberg said they're pleased the city is taking these actions to prevent neighborhoods from deteriorating.

Tu-Uyen Tran
Tran is an enterprise reporter with the Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He began his newspaper career in 1999 as a reporter for the Grand Forks Herald, now owned by Forum Communications. He began working for the Forum in September 2014. Tran grew up in Seattle and graduated from the University of Washington.
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