Problem of Broadway Street derelict may dissolve

Glynis Crawford Smith/The Highlander

A deralict home at the corner of Broadway Street and Avenue F was the topic of complaints from citizens at the Tuesday, July 18, meeting of the Marble Falls City Council. A new prospective owner and a list of improvements, not at first visible to passersby, are part of a letter Assistant City Manager Caleb Kraenzel hopes to draft to neighbors.

Solutions may be at hand for what Broadway Street neighbors consider an eyesore.

A handful of citizens addressed the meeting of the Marble Falls City Council Tuesday night, July 18, among them residents along the new Broadway Street rennovation project.

“Thank you for our beautiful new road,” said Leonard Venghaus “Everybody is walking down the new sidewalks...People that hadn't walked down the street before.”

But that was a preamble to the complaint he had his neighbors had come to register about the derelict house at 516 Broadway Street.

“We have three historical sites on the street and we are about to have a fourth,” he said, in reference to a former First Baptist Church parsonage to be moved from its site at 911 Seventh Street, across a US 281 to its new home at 604 Avenue F.

The vacant Broadway residence would be the blight on a neighborhood experiencing new vibrance.

“It has been 30 years of complaints,” said Milloraye Galyean Holden, reciting code and permit violations and public safety issues. “Enough is enough.”

As it turns out, their renewed complaints have come on the eve of a solution. Kraenzel, with the city since 2009, chalked up sharing the information with residents to miscommunication.

“I first was made made aware of the house, when we held the first public meetings on Broadway,” he said. “Ever since then, we have worked with the property owner. She is elderly and has had to rely on family members for work she can't afford. Inspectors got permission to walk through the house to make sure it was structurally sound...The progress has been slow, but discernible for documentation.

“Now, she has a buyer for the house and expects to close Aug. 14,” he said.

That will put the responsibility for improvements in the hands of a new owner who understands what needs to be done. Kraenzel said he planned to draft a letter to neighbors explaining what has been done up to now. Some of it is invisible to a casual passerby, such as cleaning debris from behind a fence.

“We didn't want to take down the fence and expose the debris,” he said.

Other work has included cleaning debris piles, an old boat and an accessory building from the back yard and beginning more regular mowing. An exterior porch with no door was secured, Kraenzel said.

He agreed problems remained and asked for a little more patience from the neighborhood as the city continues to press for code compliance on the residence and the last of the rubble from the street restoration project is cleared and right-of-way landscaping is completed.

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