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Temporary Valpo City Hall

The city's temporary headquarters during renovations at City Hall, the former Hayes Leonard Elementary School, 653 Hayes Leonard Road. 

VALPARAISO —Two buildings are up for demolition in July after the Board of Public Works and Safety deemed them unsafe to city residents.

Building Commissioner Vicki Thrasher brought the two properties, a garage at 1011 Calumet Ave. and a house at 756 Franklin St., to the attention of the board after she found significant hazards to public safety.

According to Thrasher, the garage was not built according to code, as it sits right on the line between another parcel of land. Property owner Edward Cobb said his family bought the parcel in 1965, and he has owned it since 1999.

Thrasher said an inspection in early May revealed the building was slowly collapsing, had several large holes in the side and roof and was in poor condition in general. Originally, half of the structure was on a separate lot from Cobb's property and was illegally demolished by someone May 12.

“You can see the wall is pulling away from the main structure, there is broken, splintered and damaged wood throughout. Half the garage is missing,” she said. “Prior to the demolition damage, this structure was already collapsing. The front portion was already damaged.”

Cobb agreed the building is unsafe, but said he believed the building could be fixed quickly by simply replacing or modifying the roof.

Mayor Jon Costas shot the proposal down, saying the property had been in bad shape for years and Cobb should have done something a decade ago instead of letting it get to the point where the city had to step in.

Meanwhile, the house on Franklin appears to have been abandoned for several months, according to Thrasher.

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She described the property as overgrown, littered with junk and debris and mentioned there is an abandoned camper parked on it.

“You'll see that there's broken windows and siding that's pulling away,” she said. “The lower roof area is collapsing in places.”

Thrasher said she couldn't get into contact with the owner, James Youngjohn.

Both owners will have 30 days to try and get their structures safe again. After that, the city can start the demolition, which according to Thrasher could happen a week or two after the deadline.

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