Historic Ida Grove, IA hotel set to be demolished - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Historic Ida Grove, IA hotel set to be demolished

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After land owners abandoned the old Baxter Hotel, everything fell into disrepair. After land owners abandoned the old Baxter Hotel, everything fell into disrepair.
IDA GROVE, Iowa (KTIV) -

Peggy Wunschel called the Baxter Hotel her home when she was a kid. "Lots of good memories," she recalled.

Even after getting married and moving out, Wunschel kept her eye on the Baxter Hotel.

"It was a great place to grow up and I really am saddened by the thought that it has to come down," said Wunschel.

After Wunschel's parents sold it, the hotel was converted into apartments and remained a centerpiece in the neighborhood. During the last decade, though, issues with an out-of-state landlord started to spiral out of control.

"He had a superintendent that was supposed to keep an eye on it, and the roof started leaking and once the roof started leaking, they basically just abandoned it," said Dennis Ernst, mayor of Ida Grove.

The walls of the building remain strong, but the roof had deteriorated so much, that within a couple of weeks, they are going to have to knock this place down.

"There was nothing inside it that was salvageable," said Ernst.

A couple years ago, Ernst toured the hotel's interior and found an utter state of disrepair. Animal droppings, mold and holes in the ceiling made the place uninhabitable.

"It's really disgusting. It needs to come down. In the summer time, the smell that comes out of there, I'm surprised that the neighbors haven't started complaining," said Ernst.

All the while, the outside became a haven for vandals.

"It's harder for me to see it sitting in ruin than it is for the thought of it coming down," said Wunschel.

After seeing the damage, the city wanted to knock the building down, but couldn't right away. Ernst says they've paid more than $25,000 to keep it up until it could be leveled.

"It was just heart-breaking because a lot of them were the apartments my parents had built," said Wunschel.

Once this building goes down, Wunschel says she'll be sad, but she's hopeful that whatever takes its place will be an asset for the community.

"Everybody, remember it the way it was, not the way it looks now," said Wunschel.

Originally, the city applied for a community development grant, which was approved for a day care center, but because of sequestration, the money's on hold.

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