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Residents Want Abandoned Buildings Torn Down - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Residents Want Abandoned Buildings Torn Down

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It's a sight for sore eyes, and according to some Moorhead residents, the city's abandoned properties downtown need to be demolished. This is not a new problem here in the city -- this old bar has been closed now for close to a decade -- and yet nothing has been done with the place. Now, these residents say that if the City doesn't want to take care of the problem, they will.

Moorhead resident Soo Asheim says seeing properties like this makes her mad. "It's ugly," she explains. "These buildings need to be completely revamped or they need to be torn down. This is not helping the City of Moorhead."

What's more, Asheim says there are abandoned buildings like this all over town, and she says they've been this way for years -- yet nothing's been done. "It's disheartening!" she admits. "We live here, and we love our town, we want more for it."

City Council member Mark Altenberg agrees: "We've got to contact those owners, and we've got to tell them we're moving into a new era of downtown," because the City can no longer accept these abandoned properties.

"If we have owners resistant, then we need to start increasing the fines," Altenberg explains.
"We need to really start using some punitive measures to say, 'If you're not willing to clean up these buildings, we're going to come after you.'" He says taking care of the abandoned buildings is the first step in revamping the downtown, and the first step is asking property owners, "'What do you want to do with these buildings?'"

Asheim hopes the City will no longer abandon these properties like the owners have and plans to investigate what legal options the City Council and local government might have -- "And if nothing else, maybe we can get a campaign going, people writing in and complaining."

Altenberg says that with in the next five to ten years, he hopes the City of Moorhead can reveal a makeover of the downtown, bringing in more jobs, retail, and houses.

Altenberg says the council needs to start talking with private developers and transportation about investing in the city before the vision can come to life.

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