MATTOON, Ill. (WCIA) — It’s being called one of the city’s worst eyesores, but no matter how people feel about it, city leaders say there’s not much they can do; yet.
When a brick company went out of business, a local man bought the industrially-zoned property, but city officials think it’s getting out of control. It sits between Charleston and Broadway.
The owner is keeping steel and bricks; all things he says are recyclable and he can sell, but city leaders are concerned he’s now keeping things in there which are not recyclable, which is not what the area is zoned for.
Overgrown trees, weeds, shipping containers, fences; it’s not what you expect to see.
But, it wasn’t always like this.
“It has escalated in its severity in that time. In 2015, you can look back, it was somewhat more organized.”
Tim Quackenbush owned the property next door. In 2015, he bought the brick yard.
“In this case, unfortunately, we have an industrially-zoned area, zoned in the middle of a bunch of houses.”
Matt Fredrick says they’ve been working with Quackenbush for years about his properties.
“Appears he has a lot of scrap wood, scrap iron.”
The zoning allows him to put recyclable materials here, but city officials say it’s getting out of control.
“Like, with anything, over time, it gets worse.”
Neighbors say it’s bringing in unwanted guests.
“It attracts animals, smells, mosquitoes and it needs to be cleaned out.”
City leaders say they appreciate how he’s always been more than willing to help before, but this time is different.
“The question is, can we convince him that the things we feel are rubbish and debris and garbage, if he feels they’re salvageable, that’s where the issue will be.”
Quackenbush says everything he owns has a purpose. He’s more than willing to work with the city, but it’s ultimately his property and he says it’s what he bought it for.
The police chief was supposed to meet with Quackenbush Monday, but he said he’s too busy right now. Quackenbush has 30 days to work with the city before he’ll appear in front of a judge.