Plans in the Works for Rubble-Filled Property in Clinton, Iowa

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It was November 25th, 2012 when the Odeon went up in flames.

Richard Phelan says he remembers it well.

“It was the Saturday night of Thanksgiving weekend,” Phelan said. He is part of the Clinton Regional Development Corporation and lives near the property. “It burned to the ground and basically ended up as you see it now.”

Now – Friday, August 29th, 2014 and nearly two years after the fire – the rubble is still there. The spot at 80 25th Avenue North is full of concrete, charred studs, and even some old bowling pins from the bowling alley, bar, and dance club.

“A lot of people had a lot of fun in this place,” said Clinton, Iowa Resident, Lou Stahl. “I used to take dance lessons, country dance lessons, back in the day.”

“It’s unfortunate,” said Phelan. “It’s actually a building that dates back to the Civil War.”

There are plans in the works to clear the debris and build new.  This week, Clinton City Council unanimously agreed to buy the property for $1 and Phelan says he thinks they’ve already requested bids to haul away what’s left of the building.

“We were very happy to see that the city is taking a proactive stand,” said Sheralyn Bartels, Co-Owner of Don’s Jewelry. “Getting it cleaned up and then making it affordable so someone can come in and develop is very important.”

Bartels is also the President of the Lyons Business and Professional Association. The Lyons Business District is about a block away from the old Odeon property. She says the group is already talking to developers.

“This morning we met with a developer and we’re just ready to find out what steps need to be taken so we don’t have to wait.”

Bartels and Phelan both say they would like the soon-to-be empty space turned into apartments. They say there is a need for affordable housing in the area.

“Especially with the Thomson Prison coming, we know that and we hope that an influx of people will be coming so we know that housing is really important now if we want to attract that clientele,” said Bartels.

The Lyons Business and Professional Associations plans to conduct a feasibility study. City Council plans to ratify the purchase at their next meeting on September 8th, 2014.