Winfield Council discusses nuisance properties

By Gretchen Teske, Mt. Pleasant News


WINFIELD ? With the amount of nuisance properties in the city of Winfield the council is looking to clean them up one at a time.

At the City Council meeting on Wednesday, Sept. 12, Angel Ingwerson approached the council to discuss the policy behind nuisance properties. Ingwerson said she received a letter from the city stating a car, parked in front of her house for an extended period of time with no movement, needed to be moved within five days, per city policy. Ingwerson admitted the letter was warranted and moved her car. She then expressed confusion over the policy and asked Police Chief Jeff Dietrich what happens after the five days are up. She felt her neighbors? property was in much worse condition and said it had been that way for years. ?The letter said five days, this has been five years,? she said. ?We?re enabling them to live like this.?

Dietrich explained that he sends letters to those he does not see and issues a verbal warning to those he does. He has compiled a list of these properties and the police department is trying their best to deal with them one at a time. He said two court dates in October have been set already for nuisance properties that have not been cleaned up after being issued letters. Mayor Chris Finnell added that exterior deterioration might be the responsibility of the landlord and not the occupant. This has been a continuous problem for Winfield. ?It?s a very big challenge and it?s not just facing our community,? he said.

Winfield-Mt. Union softball coach Walt Jackson also approached the council to discuss possible improvements to the softball dugouts. They would like to expand the visitors dugout to be 15 feet by 30 feet and the home to be 15 feet by 40 feet, using the extra space for permanent storage for equipment. The dugouts they currently have are small and do not comfortably fit all players. Because the city owns the property, he was there seeking permission on behalf of the school. He presented three estimates from Winfield Builders supply. The project is to be fully funded by the softball program through fundraising. The first was for the dugouts to have chain link backing. The estimated cost was around $8,000. The second was for the dugouts to be backed with wood and would be estimated at around $6,500. The third was for a slightly smaller dugout at 10 feet by 40 feet and would cost around $5,000 for both. The softball program has made improvements to the field in the past and the council has had no complaints or issues. The council approved the improvement and the softball program will decide which bid to move forward with.

Jackson was pulling double duty Wednesday night as he was also attending the meeting on behalf of the Henry County Emergency Management, in which he is the coordinator. Jackson discussed with the council classes city employees would be able to attend.

The first was a de-escalation class that aims to provide workers the knowledge and ability to deal with a customer or citizen who is expressing harmful or complicated behaviors. The program would take 6 hours to complete. The second was a first aid, stop the bleed and CPR class encouraged for anyone who interacts with the public. Jackson expressed that in emergency situations knowledge is power and by having this, there is greater possibility of survival should the skills be needed. The class could be completed within an hour. ?They saves lives,? he said of the classes. ?They?re out there, they?re free and they don?t cost you anything.?

In other news, the council approved the placement of the Henry County Freedom Rock. The rock will be in the parking lot on the corner of Locust and Pine Streets. The rock will not be completed for several years as Winfield is on the waiting list. The lot also will be used later this month for the annual Halloween fest celebration. On Saturday, Oct. 27, a wiener roast will take place from 4-6 p.m. and trick-or-treating from 6-8 p.m.

The Winfield City Council will meet in special session on Wednesday, Sept. 26, at 5 p.m. to hold a public hearing for the approval of entering into a revenue loan agreement to borrow money thereunder in a principal amount not to exceed $1,300,000 for their pool.

The next regular meeting of the Winfield City Council will be Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 5 p.m. in City Hall.