Old nursing home’s plight still festers

Becky Nilges of Iola wants city council members to address the abandoned nursing home.

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Local News

September 24, 2021 - 4:49 PM

The old Iola Nursing Center

The status of an empty nursing home/residential care facility on North Walnut Street is once again on the Iola City Council’s radar.

Becky Nilges, who lives a few blocks north of the old Iola Nursing Center, has requested the city do more to take steps to ensure the facility is either improved or, her preference, have it demolished.

“It’s just sat there for years, and they haven’t done anything to it,” Nilges told the Register.

Nilges has visited extensively with neighboring landowners, who have grown increasingly frustrated with the building.

“We know people go in and out, but you can’t catch them, because it’s a big facility,” she said.

Broken windows have been reported, the building’s soffit is in bad shape, and often times doors are found insecure.

“People wind up with insulation and shingles in their yards.”

“We just want the city to do an official inspection and see if it’s up to code,” Nilges said. “Just looking from the outside, it can’t possibly be up to code.”

The building has been vacant since 2015, when the old Iola Nursing Center closed its doors.

A stipulation in the property’s deed prevents it from ever being used again as any type of senior housing facility.

Shane Lamb, a developer, was rejected in 2019 in his bid to have the building converted into an apartment complex.

MEO Development LLP of Pleasant Hill, Mo., is listed as the owner.

Nilges is requesting the city do a formal inspection of the facility, preferably with Council members present. 

THAT REQUEST  likely won’t pass legal muster, City Administrator Matt Rehder spelled out in a memo to the Council.

Without probable cause, inspectors cannot enter the premises without first receiving permission from the landowners.

Secondly, because the property is not under any type of current action, any inspection report can be shared only with the property’s owner, Rehder said.

Rehder said the proper course of action is for the city to monitor the property, then reporting any discrepancies first to the landowner.

MONDAY’S otherwise light meeting agenda also includes a cereal malt beverage request from Iolan Paul Porter to allow alcohol sales at 20 W. Jackson Ave.; and a Domestic Violence Awareness Month proclamation.

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