City news

The Abilene City Commission is giving the owner of this structure at 404 Cottage until March 31 to bring it up to compliance or remove it.

A Hutchinson property owner was given an extra month to bring his building in Abilene up to compliance at the Abilene City Commission meeting on Monday at a public hearing.

Cary Stratten said he was not advised until recently that the structure at 404 Cottage Avenue was being considered to be unsafe and dangerous.

Monday the city commission vote 5-0 to give him until March 31 to repair or remove the structure and make the premises safe and secure.

Stratten said he purchased the property a year ago. However, he did not register the deed with Dickinson County until last month.

City Inspector Travis Steerman said notices were sent to the registered owners dating back last December.

A fire damaged the front of the building in May 2018.

Stratten said he wasn’t able to make repairs to the building until recently.

In a letter to the commission, Casen Brown, president of Thunder Struck Bumpers, said the building has been abandoned for over four years.

He said the parking lot used by Great Plain Theatre is located next to the property giving patrons, “a direct view of the unmaintained property, diminishing a good first impression.”

“I’m ready to see it gone,” Brown told the commissioners Monday. “I’m tired of driving by it everyday.”

The city hired crews last summer to clean up the overgrown vegetation, costing the city $950 total.

The city found the following conditions made the building unsafe:

(1) Fire damage to front rooms of building;

(2) Front portion of structure open to weather elements;

(3) Rafters and trusses fire damaged to unsafe conditions;

(4) Miscellaneous fire and water damaged debris stored in front;

(5) All windows boarded up, some not secure;

(6) Heavy smoke damage throughout structure;

(7) Electrical system in disrepair;

(8) Evidence of rainwater damage to the ceilings;

(9) Plaster fallen off the walls and ceiling in various locations;

(10) Cracked or missing siding;

(11) Rear of building roof in need of repair;

(12) Heavy vegetative overgrowth along the exterior walls;

(13) Evidence of mice and cats in the house, although none were observed.

Last meeting

Monday’s regular meeting is the last time the commission will meet in 2019.

The current commission will meet in a study session on Jan. 6.

The term for the newly elected commission will start at the Jan. 13 regular meeting.

At that meeting, a mayor and vice-mayor will be elected by the commission.

Barb Jones, Dickinson County clerk and election officer, certified the results of the Nov. 5 city commission election.

Brandon Rein, receiving the most votes of 789, and Marshall who was reelected with 575 votes will serve four-year terms.

Shafer, receiving 535 votes, will serve two years.

Ostermann and Witt will serve two more years.

Contact Tim Horan at

Contact Tim Horan at

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