Busted House a Boon to Community

Five long years after it was snapped up by a bank in foreclosure, a dilapidated house at the intersection of Oakdale and Butler avenues in West St. Paul has been dropped into the hands of the city's economic development authority. The donation is an unusual opportunity amid the mortgage mess.

In an emailed statement, U.S. Bank spokeswoman Teri Charest said the donation "was the best option because of the value it provides the community. We applaud their efforts to turn this space into something that will benefit the neighborhood."

At its meeting next month, the EDA will discuss what to do with the 0.15-acre lot. It will likely become an open space for the neighborhood. There's even been talk about using it as a community garden.

During the time it belonged to the bank, the property racked up a considerable stack of citations for maintenance problems ranging from broken windows to tall weeds. It brought in contractors for estimates to fix up the house after they were hit with several property-maintenance citations, but eventually realized it made no sense to rehabilitate the house. By donating the property, the bank can write it off as a loss and stop paying for maintenance and county taxes.

Dakota County tax records show the home and lot are worth an estimated $127,900. However, a recent appraisal pegged the home's value at about $26,000.

Source: U.S. Bank turns over foreclosed home to West St. Paul for possible open space

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