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Historic neighborhood house coming down

Sep 17, 2019

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The house at 522 E. 1st Ave. is missing glass windows and some siding, but it is listed on the state and national historic registers and sits in the Houston Whiteside Historic District.

It will be demolished, based on a 4-0 vote Tuesday morning by the Hutchinson City Council.

Bringing the home “to a liveable standard while adhering to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation is not economically or technically feasible,” a city staff report stated.

Property owner Sebastian Caudillo II does not live in the house, built in 1905, and did not come to the meeting to address the council. City staff said Caudillo would cooperate with the demolition and probably would be relieved.

Councilmember Nancy Soldner said people don’t realize the cost of repairing the older homes.

“That’s a block from my house,” said Councilmember Steve Dechant, who thinks “we’re failing to protect our history.”

Dechant urged that the city’s Landmarks Commission be charged to be proactive and address concerns of disrepair before houses reach the point of demolition. Having vacant lots within a neighborhood is not a good thing, he said.

The Landmarks Commission voted in August against demolition, determining that it “would damage or destroy the historic significance of the structure and the district.” The Landmarks Commission has limits to its consideration of properties, though, and the City Council granted an appeal of the Landmarks Commission’s ruling and issued a demolition permit.

Mayor David Inskeep was absent from Tuesday’s meeting. Business before the council included:City Manager John Deardoff said two parties are interested in acquiring the city’s old fire station at East Avenue B and Walnut Street. He wants the council to provide direction at a future meeting regarding the building’s future.
New Beginnings Inc.’s Shara Gonzales said the Townhomes at Santa Fe Place, in the 200 block of West 5th Avenue, is meeting its goal of providing housing for moderate-income young professionals with children. The 10-unit housing project was on a tour when Lt. Gov. Lynn Rogers visited Hutchinson this summer, and it could be used as a case study for the state, she said. She said other communities are looking at how this public-private partnership was put together. There’s a waiting list to move into the apartments, she also said.
The council approved a change order for $185,136 to Cornejo and Sons LLC, Wichita, for an overlay project on East 23rd Avenue. Overall, the project was only $5,000 over the original budget, staff said.
The council approved an amendment to a contract with Burns & McDonnell for improvements at the Wastewater Treatment Facility. With a Phase III cost of $849,000, the revised contract amounts to over $1.1 million.
A request to vacate platted right-of-way on 50th Avenue was approved, but a utility easement was retained.
A resolution regarding the city’s intent to issue Health Care Facilities Refunding Revenue Bonds on behalf of Wesley Towers was OK’d. The city bears no responsibility for the bonds that benefit the retirement community.

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