ASHLAND – A property owner got his own bids for demolition of a dilapidated house on his property before the City of Ashland had to take over the project.
At the Ashland City Council meeting on Aug. 19, City Administrator Jessica Quady told the council that Mike Lesley had gotten a bid from two contractors to tear down the house at 2602 Adams Street. Lesley contacted Clark Construction of Ashland and Pershing Excavating of Lincoln. Lesley chose Pershing because Willard Clark, owner of Clark Construction, told Lesley he was too busy to get to the project in the timeframe needed and suggested Lesley call Pershing, Quady said.
The city has given Lesley a final 60-day notice to remove the house from the property after deeming it uninhabitable. The council has been working with Lesley for over a year to clean up junk vehicles, unlicensed pickups and motorcycles, vehicle parts, overgrown trees and other nuisances that were found on his property at 2602 Adams Street. The deadline was extended multiple times, but the final deadline was set 60 days before Sept. 17, the last day Lesley has to finish the job to the city’s satisfaction.
The council’s agenda had included an item to get bids for abatement, but the city did not have to do so because Lesley had taken on the task himself, Quady said. The city will step in if Lesley does not get the house taken down and the rest of the junk removed by Sept. 17, however, she added.
While council members are pleased to hear that Lesley has enlisted the help of a contractor, they are cautious that he will make the deadline because of his track record so far.
“We’ll see how it goes and if it’s cleaned up,” said Council Member Jim Anderson.
Later in the meeting, the council approved a recommendation by Mayor Rick Grauerholz for a new city council member. Jake Crnkovich was sworn in to replace Matt Meyer, who had resigned recently because of time conflicts.
Grauerholz said the new council member representing Ward 2 comes with multiple good recommendations.
“His friends and neighbors speak very highly of him,” he said.
Crnkovich’s first action as a council member was to vote to approve the city’s monthly claims.
At the beginning of the meeting, Douglas Meyo spoke to the council about two topics important to residents along Furnas Street.
During the public comment portion, Meyo told the council that he would like the city to come up with a “remedy” for the speeders along Furnas Street. He said vehicles of all types, including semis too heavy for the road, drive up to 60 miles per hour along the residential street.
“I know speeding is all over town, but they’re treating this like it’s a two-lane highway,” Meyo said.
Meyo also asked the council to require a neighbor to clean up their property. Meyo said the owner of 2701 Furnas Street purchased the property in 2013 and has been dumping three to four loads of trash every weekend in the back yard, which has a pile of trash 10 to 12 feet high. The pile includes tires, oil and construction debris.
The area was annexed by the city late last year. Now that it is within city limits, Meyo said he wants the city to take action.
“It’s a health hazard. It’s a fire hazard. It’s against city ordinance. And it’s also detrimental to our real estate values,” Meyo said.
Meyo also said he had contacted city hall about the situation on March 3 and had not received a reply. Because it was the public comment portion of the meeting, the council could not respond to Meyo’s requests.
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