Downtown Mitchell hit with 35 nuisance lettersCode enforcement officer sends notices on Main between First and Sixth.
By: Ross Dolan, The Daily Republic
Mitchell Code Enforcement Officer Jeff Lanning spent some time downtown recently. He wasn’t shopping. Lanning, a former Highway Patrol trooper who was hired by the city last year, recently mailed 35 nuisance property letters to Main Street businesses between First and Sixth avenues.
The Daily Republic sought copies of the letters Friday after receiving a tip about them but could not reach Lanning.
Brenda Olesen, owner of Einstein’s Costume & Prop Rental at 317 N. Main St., said she expects to receive a letter soon.
“I know that I’m going to be on the list, but I was aware of that,” she said, adding that the citation is a reminder to get a needed building repair project done. “The wall of our building on the side where the State Theatre burned was redone, but probably not the way it should have been. It looks bad and needs to be repaired, and we’re working on getting repair bids.”
Molly Goldsmith, executive director of Mitchell Main Street & Beyond, said she has not yet heard any negative reaction from Main Street property owners about the nuisance letters.
“The city has its codes in place and Jeff is enforcing the codes all over the city,” Goldsmith said. “I don’t see why downtown should be any different.”
She noted that city government is also doing its part to help downtown property owners. The City Council last year added $142,000 to a revolving loan fund to help downtown businesses improve their buildings, bringing the total of available funds to $284,000.
Those who receive the loans get a one-year grace period for repayment. The loans must be paid back over the next five years at a rate of 3 percent.
Olesen, who is a member of the MMS&B Promotions Committee, said code enforcement draws attention to things that need repair, and violations will be more costly to fix if repairs are delayed.
The overall purpose is to make the city appealing to residents and visitors, Oleson said.
“That all takes place when you do your restoring, start freshening your paint, or put a new wing on,” she said. “One little thing leads to another and pretty soon you’re a pretty nice looking Main Street. We’re going to draw more people to a nicer, cleaner environment than we will if we have a place with boarded up windows.”