Council Votes to Demolish Dangerous Structure

By Bonnie Culverhouse

A house fire is never a welcome thing, and for Sullivan Street property owner Larry Davenport, when his house burned, it totally disrupted his life.

“I had hoped to move in this week,” Davenport said. “I made changes to the house. I had worked really hard on it. Now, there’s nothing left. I didn’t have any insurance on it.”

In fact, what’s left standing of the structure is totally unsalvageable and has been deemed dangerous to anyone who goes near it.

In a special meeting Tuesday, Minden City Council members voted unanimously to condemn the property and have the structure removed immediately. The Sullivan Street property is in District B, and District B Councilwoman Terika Williams-Walker was the only council member not attending.

Davenport said he has been in contact with Building Official Brent Cooley, who helped him get estimates for demolishing the house.

“The second story is the issue,” Cooley said. “(Fire) Chief (Kip Mourad) and I feel the second story undermines pretty drastically. We don’t want any neighbor kids or people or anything to be inside … a good storm you may have more of it coming down.”

Currently, the property is taped off and secured.

“So, we will move forward on demolition,” Davenport said.

Cooley said he feels they got a good deal at $5,000 to take it down and level the property. Local contractor David Peterson was low bidder.

After that, it is up to Davenport to keep it clean until he can make a decision about the property, as well as find a way to reimburse the city for demolition.

“I plan to auction the property off and give other people a chance to buy it because it’s in (or on the edge of) a historical neighborhood,” Davenport said. “I’m also raising funds from churches that are going to help us get the $5,000 to pay it back.”

Mayor Terry Gardner explained the process of reimbursing the city.

“We will have to put a property lien on your taxes,” Gardner said. “So, when your property is sold, it will go to pay it back.”

Cooley said Davenport will have the opportunity to raise funds.

“As soon as it’s done, we will get billed by the contractor,” Cooley said. “After that, we will bill you and you will have a short period to get that paid. If it doesn’t get paid timely, it gets moved into a tax lien.”

Mourad said the Fire Marshal is investigating. Davenport said he believes he knows how and why the house burned, but he has no proof.

“I do know it wasn’t electrical,” Davenport said. “I had recently had it completely rewired, and the electricity wasn’t even turned on. There was no power going to it.”