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Council moves on village blight



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December 14, 2011 - Goodrich-A historical landmark is among two area buildings with safety violations and targeted for cleanup by the village.

Village Attorney Mike Gildner presented three suggestions at Monday's council meeting to resolve issues with the Goodrich House apartments near the corner of Hegel and Clarence streets and an abandoned home near Hegel and M-15.

"The structures violate the blight or property maintenance code ordinances of the village," said Gildner. "The village could have a judge charge them with a misdemeanor where either the owners comply or face 93 days in jail and a $500 fine. You'll be asking the judge to throw these people in jail. Still, the buildings will be there when they get out. The second alternative would be to hold a dangerous building hearing. We are then giving the owners the opportunity to present a plan of compliance at a public meeting. The owners will then have to keep their promise and show some progress on the building."

The other option would be to file an injunction in circuit court.

"The village will be seeking equitable relief—which means a judge will allow the village to respond. We are asking the court for the village to take action. We'll be able to enter on the property to bring the property in compliance including the repair or demolition of the premises. Once that order has been obtained, then the property owners will be notified."

Gildner said letters will be mailed out on Jan 6 or an injunction will be filed. Property owners will have 21 days to respond.

"Unless the owners comply, the village can go on the property—that will get property owners attention," he said.

Of historical interest in the community is the Goodrich House apartments, which had been occupied by eight families until a fire ripped through the structure on Sept. 27, 2009. The 160-year-old structure was then abandoned until Oct. 2010 when Hadley resident Christopher Aragon purchased the property with the intent to repair the structure. Work has since been ongoing; however, several issues remain.

Jakki Sidge, village administrator, said a major concern is the water in the basement.

"The water is a danger," she said. "If someone goes in the building they could drown.The water needs to be pumped out and hauled away, not drained outside in the Kearsley Creek. Also, there's a window that is boarded up with drywall—it's not a secure type of material. Aragon does have a good plan, but as times goes by the structure is deteriorating."

Dawn Bastian, Goodrich Ladies' Library Museum Coordinator and Goodrich Atlas Historical Society Vice-President, said the Goodrich House was one of the first buildings in downtown Goodrich.

"Due to the age of the building, it's perhaps where those enlisting in the Civil War went to sign up in the early 1860s," she said. "There's a lot of history there."

According to the historical society, the Goodrich House was built by Mr. Haskins in 1846 and was the first tavern, post office and a popular spot for trading and salesmen. During the building's 160 years, there were several owners including Ben Yerkey, the Cicote Brothers (famous for their baseball careers) and Emery Rockafellow. After the death of Rockafellow, the tavern was bought by S. M. Hegel.

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