Clean-up of Squires-owned properties cost Eureka $299,000

EUREKA – $299,000. That’s what it cost the City of Eureka to clean up four properties owned by Floyd and Betty Squires.
The city demolished or boarded up the four buildings citing an immediate threat to public health and safety.
Demolition of a vacant residence on H Street cost $132,000 while the destruction of the former Blue Heron Motel on Broadway was $120,000.
Boarding up a multi-unit complex on 3rd Street and relocating its residents cost $31,000.
Securing a house on G Street that’s the subject of a neighborhood lawsuit pulled another $14,000 from the city’s budget.
When those actions are combined with administrative fines, penalties and interest, eight Squires-owned properties racked up a bill of more than $517,000.
For some perspective, that’s nearly 2/3 of what the city spends on its parks for the entire year.
These numbers will be presented to City Council on Tuesday along with smaller amounts from eight other property owners.
Members will be asked to impose special assessments in an attempt to recoup that money.
As for the significant costs incurred at the Squires properties, City Manager Greg Sparks said from a liability standpoint the city needed to address unsafe conditions.
“When they are in that kind of condition we just can’t leave them up,” Sparks explained. “But we take on that initial expense and then we go after the property owners whoever they are at the time to try to recoup those costs. And part of this is that legal process of City Council holding a public hearing and the property owner has a right to come in, make their case and then the council certifies those so they go on to the property tax.”
The meeting is Tuesday night at 6:00 at Eureka City Hall.