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MURPHYSBORO — By now, the Murphysboro City Council had expected to be deciding what to do about a historic train station in town, after giving the owner 60 days to put on a roof and install some windows.

That plan has hit a snafu, however, after it was discovered that no letter was sent to the property owner.  The council had decided to send the letter to Martin Schaldemose, the property owner of the train depot, in mid June.

The city aldermen decided to take this measure as one of its last moves to attempt to force Schaldemose to comply with city codes to take care of the building, which some felt he was allowing to fall into disrepair.

"Due to a failure on the part of city staff the letter was not sent out till last week," Mayor Will Stephens said. "Therefore, we are delayed another five weeks. It was a miscommunication regarding who was to draft the letter."

Schaldemose did receive the letter that was sent out this past week, coming to city hall Tuesday to request a meeting with the mayor and two aldermen, Stephens said.  The mayor said he has asked Sandra Ripley, the city's human resource manager, to coordinate so that meeting so the group can get together.

"That is good," Stephens said of the progress.

After the council made the decision to draft the letter to Schaldemose, the two-story scaffolding that had been one major point of contention came down and some decorative windows panes went up in a few windows on the lower level.

The city council also spent more time Tuesday night getting rid of some property that is has come to own, accepting the high bids on about 13 of them.  Bids ranged from $10 for an uncontested bid on 407 S. 16th St. to $2,702 for a property on Mulberry Street near 4th Street.

Council members also voted to deed the property at 2012 Division Street to Habitat for Humanity. That organization plans to build a new home on that site, Stephens said.

This is third time city officials have put these properties up for sale; the properties were acquired by city officials and decried as being burdensome and a financial drain to maintain.

Stephens estimates city officials have sold about 50 of these properties and have about 30 left.  Those interested in bidding on any of the remaining properties should stay tune for a future notice publicizing the open bid process, he said.

"That's very good news," Stephens said of the sales and final remaining lots.

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Stephanie Esters is a reporter covering Jackson and Union counties.

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