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Meth-contaminated Washington building avoids wrecking ball

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WASHINGTON, Iowa — A meth contaminated building in Washington, Iowa has avoided the wrecking ball and could be cleaned-up by next week.

The owners of the Goncho Apartments, 306 N. Marion Ave., have agreed to pay for professional meth decontamination, according to building and zoning official Steve Donnolly. The central Iowa company contracted to do the work could begin the cleanup, which is expected to last several days, as early as Friday, Donnolly said.

“Finally there is some conclusion,” said Donnolly. “It has been an eye sore.”

Residents were suddenly kicked out of the building in January of 2013 after officials found elevated levels of meth residue inside several of the apartments and the commons area. Since then the building hasn’t been occupied and has become an overgrown eyesore for those living in the community.

“Everyone who walks out of Fairway has to look at it,” said Bob Shellmyer, a city council member who has been critical of the city’s handling of the situation.

The Miller family, owners of the building, have been given several extensions during a lengthy legal battle to determine the fate of the building.

“You can give a 30 day extension once, but how many times do you need to give it?” Shellmyer said.

Donnolly said some additional work may be required on the inside before people are allowed to move back in. Many of the residents who once lived there have moved out of the area, although many of their possessions remain inside.

“We want people to have a chance to get in there and get their stuff,” Donnolly said. “Whether it’s a birth certificate, or anything.”

It’s not clear at what cost the building cleanup will come. Attempts to reach the Miller family for comment were unsuccessful.

In the last year Washington city officials took possession of and tore down two other meth contaminated properties.

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