City petitions to take ownership of ‘deteriorating’ building downtown

A deteriorating building downtown should be declared abandoned, says a court filing by the city of Oelwein, which is seeking ownership.

A court hearing in the years-long legal conflict involving the building at 27 S. Frederick — former home of Seams So Simple — is pending as court officials are trying to contact owner Gary Wright about setting a date.

Wright took ownership of the building in the fall of 2021. He planned to repair and renovate it to operate a dog grooming business. He has not been able to bring the building up to code.

The latest legal filing, made Feb. 23, by the city is a petition for title to abandoned property.

“The Property is abandoned according to the criteria set forth in Iowa Code §657A.10B(3),” the petition says, adding that it has been unoccupied for at least six consecutive months and it’s property taxes are were delinquent.

The petition also claims the partially boarded up building is deteriorating because of exposure to the elements, has vermin and is not fit by code for human habitation, occupancy or use.

“Those claiming an interest in the property have not made sufficient efforts to rehabilitate the building and grounds,” the petition says, adding that they also have not “demonstrated good faith efforts to restore the property to productive use.”