IRRR Board to consider revamps to Residential Redevelopment

A new approach to help our communities prepare for growth

April 10, 2012

EVELETH, Minn.— At its Thursday, April 12, 2012 meeting, the Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation Board (IRRRB) will consider $350,000 in funding for a revamped Residential Redevelopment program that will assist northeastern Minnesota communities in demolishing and removing dilapidated residential structures. While the guidelines have been modified, the original goals of removing dilapidated and other uninhabitable residential structures will be efficiently accomplished. 

IRRRB Commissioner Tony Sertich said, “By removing these structures from our local neighborhoods, we will help our communities create new space for development, maintain clean, safe and healthy neighborhoods and increase the tax base,” said Sertich. “Because of its economic and visual impact and its benefits to communities and residents, this has been one of the IRRRB’s most popular efforts.” 

Cities and townships within the IRRRB service area will be able to access Residential Redevelopment assistance in one of two methods. 

    • Cities and townships can hire licensed contractors to perform the demolition and removal work on behalf of the city or township and receive cost share reimbursement from the IRRRB. 

    • Larger communities that have the staff, equipment and ability to demolish and remove dilapidated residences can apply to the IRRRB to perform the demolition in-house and receive cost share reimbursement. 

“This strategy provides additional work for contractors and direct employment for their workers,” said Sertich. “Utilizing contractors also allows numerous dilapidated structures in multiple communities across the region to be simultaneously demolished, resulting in the demolition and removal of a large number of structures on a year-round, as-needed basis.” 

Cities and townships are encouraged to collaborate with neighboring cities and townships to schedule demolition projects geographically in order to minimize total costs and improve efficiency. 

“Residential Redevelopment is an important investment in improving the quality of life within northeastern Minnesota communities,” said Sertich. “This is an important tool for our communities in preparing for growth. I have heard from community leaders that they are excited to utilize this program to help create space for new homes and other in-fill community development.” 

Over 36 years, the “demo” program has demolished and removed more than 6,800 dilapidated residential structures. From 2002 to 2006, building demolition was suspended due to an economic downturn and dwindling inventory. In 2008, the program, at the request of nine cities, was reinstated for two years, and a list of structures to be demolished was completed in 2010. 

Demand to bring back Residential Redevelopment has grown. Currently, approximately 84 structures are on a list for demolition. These structures are located in Babbitt, Buhl, Chisholm, Ely, Eveleth, Gilbert, Grand Rapids, Hibbing, Hoyt Lakes, Keewatin, Kelly Lake, Mountain Iron, Nashwauk, Palo, Pengilly, Soudan, Two Harbors and Virginia. Additional structures are expected to be added to the list upon board approval. 

IRRRB is a state economic development agency headquartered in northeastern Minnesota whose mission is to invest in business, community and workforce development for the betterment of northeastern Minnesota.