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D&D program delivers beautification results

Published: Thursday, April 20, 2017 9:25 a.m. CDT • Updated: Thursday, April 20, 2017 11:04 a.m. CDT
(Jamee A. Pierson/Daily News)
Several houses, including the blighted home on First Avenue East, are a part of the D&D program to address dangerous and dilapidated properties throughout the city. Since the program started in 2014, more than 50 properties have been addressed.

Since it started in 2014, the Dangerous and Dilapidated program throughout the city of Newton has made huge strides in addressing blighted properties in the community. So much progress that the original $1.1 million in funding has been used or is committed to existing project.

With the success of the program, including addressing more than 50 properties throughout Newton and making way for new developments and housing, the city moved to bring in additional funds to keep the program moving forward.

“Extra monies within the Housing Initiative Bond that will not be utilized can be shifted for the purpose of acquiring this property and the two others under consideration at this time,” former interim city administrator Jarrod Wellik said. “Staff has initially identified that it is possible to reallocate up to $220,000 of bond funds for the current year and up to $150,000 of bond funds, originally targeted for incentives, for the next fiscal year into the D&D program.”

Recent properties purchased through the D&D program include 512 First Ave. E., 321 E. Eighth St. S., 319 E. Eighth St. S. and 501 S. Second Ave. W. Among those properties is a highly visible house on First Avenue East that was originally planned for renovation. 

“About one half of the foundation has collapsed and is unstable,” director of Planning and Zoning Erin Chambers said. “At this point the building would not be a financially sound decision to continue with the renovation on it.”

Once the developer discovered the foundation situation, it became apparent further work would not be possible. The city purchased the house for $23,000 and it has since been approved for demolition.

The D&D program also brings an added benefit of producing lots for potential developers to build new housing on Newton. In November, eight former D&D lots were sold with the intention of building eight new homes.

Seven of those lots, located at 900 S. Fifth Ave. E., 1022 S. Fifth Ave. E., 1124 S. Fifth Ave. E., 625 E. Fifth St. S., 920 E. Ninth St. N., 922 E. Ninth St. N. and 315 E. 12th St. S., were sold to developer Woodlands Construction for $1,000 each. Woodlands proposed to build seven, two-bedroom starter homes that would be placed on the market for about $100,000 each.

“I think it is exciting that we have somebody committed to building seven new homes who is already building homes in our community and seize that excitement,” councilwoman Miranda Kulis said.

Another project made possible because of the D&D program is the Jewel Tea Court Townhomes, an eight unit development near Skiff Medical Center. Built on several lots previously home to D&D properties, the development is adding much needed housing in the downtown area.

“All through our D&D program we focused on that area to make it a marquee development area to show the kind of development that we have been asked for and the kind of development that we are going to deliver to our community,” Mayor Mike Hansen said.

The future of the D&D program looks bright as new money has been infused and results are visible with new construction replacing the dilapidated properties.

Contact Jamee A. Pierson at 641-792-3121 ext. 6534 or jpierson@newtondailynews.com

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