The fate of the Heinrich house is definitely a unique issue for a small city.
The city has been attempting to purchase the property for a couple months now. However, it remains unclear as to what action the current owner (the bank) is taking to sell it. They are taking their time in communicating their position. So… …we’re still waiting. Having said that, they are asking for more money than what the city is willing and able to pay for it at this time. Remember, we are a small city and our funds our limited.
The only concern of the city council is that this property becomes a useful and productive property. That’s the only reason we are attempting the purchase it in the first place. But, the less the city (taxpayers) get involved, the better.
I believe the role of government is to step in when the private sector is unable or unwilling to provide the solution. Given the amount of passion regarding this issue, I am still hopeful there is a capable individual or team of individuals willing to propose a solution that includes a solid idea, funding, and execution of the idea. If the community wishes to do something immediately, then this is the only route available to us at this time.
Ultimately, we’d like to see a family, builder, or a developer buy it and fix it up, or demo it and rebuild and let this property start a new positive chapter in the neighborhood.
I would stay away from a garden or memorial of any kind since that raises awareness of something the community wishes to forget, even though that will be difficult to do without acceptance and time. Also, it is not our place nor is this the location to raise awareness or memorialize. We are all merely empathic bystanders and the Wetterling’s have already set the tone and the path for healing in which we all must accept and follow.
As a last resort, if this property remains unsold and if the community wishes to see that house gone, then the community (along with other sympathizers) will have to band together, raise the funds, donate to the City, and then the City will administer whatever action necessary to move forward. But the city and its taxpayers can’t do this alone.