Overgrown trees shade the collapsed roof and vines crawl up the siding. The fallen porch has become a home for raccoons, neighborhood cats and other animals, Bonnie Smith said.

The Semple sanitarium was condemned unanimously by city commissioners in a meeting Wednesday with no public dissent.

If the owner, Smith, does not repair or remove the structure within 60 days, the city will proceed with the demolition process, Wynndee Lee, planning and codes director, said.

Located at 128 N. Locust St., the two-story residence was once home to “The Natural Cure Sanitarium” where Etta Semple operated a hospital to heal the poor and social outcasts, according to Herald archives.

Lee introduced the resolution as a third attempt to solve the “attractive nuisance.” She said the owner was prepared to demolish the house at one point, but in two public hearings, people came forward to inhibit the action based on the house’s historical significance.

“Both of the previous times, there were people who came to testify about the significance of the structure and in hopes that someone would step forward to resolve that by acquiring the structure or relocating the structure,” Lee said. “ ... Unfortunately, none of the additional time granted by the governing body actually resulted in a solution.”

Smith, owner of the property since the 1980s, said her husband and son intended to build a garage before the pushback from community historians. She said the structure was offered to the historical society, but nothing happened. She now doesn’t have the finances to tear it down, she said, adding that she wished someone would have saved it years ago.

“If the historical society wanted that place, they missed their chance in the ‘70s when it was still fixable, and worth saving. Now it’s mostly a headache,” Smith said in a recent letter to The Herald.

Smith has paid taxes on the property for 30 years, she said, and is frustrated she didn’t have the ability to build what she wanted at the Locust Street site.

At Wednesday’s meeting, commissioners Sara Caylor and Shawn Dickinson commented they were sad to see the building’s current state, but agreed it is unsafe and dangerous. Dickinson said he contacted individuals who have saved other historical properties, who told him they thought the structure was beyond repair.

If the city gains the right for removal of a structure, it will seek a bid from a licensed contractor. The size of the building, close proximity to adjacent homes and level of deterioration will contribute to the cost. Demolitions can cost between $3,000 and $8,000 depending on the amount of work, Lee said. The property owners will then pay taxes to the city for the work once it is complete.

In the same meeting, commissioners discussed resolutions to condemn two other properties. Like the Semple house, other resolutions approved condemning structures while also giving owners an opportunity to take action, Lee said. If the owners fail to do so in the timeline established, the city is given the right to proceed.

A single family residential structure located at 716 S. Ash St. was found by city inspectors to have a caving foundation and other deterioration, Lee said. A local licensed concrete contractor recommended demolition, she said.

Commissioners voted 5-0 with no public comment to pass the resolution for condemnation.

The second structure, located at 820 N. Locust St., was found by inspectors to be unfit for human occupancy on July 8, 2014, according to a planning and codes document. Inspectors identified deterioration of the roof and improper heating.

“It hasn’t been abandoned, it just has some needs,” Lee said.

In the public hearing, the owner, Joseph Espinosa, asked for a year extension due to a pending loan. The home has been in his family since the 1940s and he would like to afford to repair it, he said.

He said he has since moved out of the home to find other housing. Commissioners voted 5-0 to continue the resolution in 60 days in order to give the owner time to determine permit status.

Amelia Arvesen is a Herald staff writer. Email her at aarvesen@ottawaherald.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AmeliaArvesen.

Amelia Arvesen is a Herald staff writer. Email her at aarvesen@ottawaherald.com. Follow her on Twitter at @AmeliaArvesen.