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Crown Point edges closer to deal allowing renovation of home damaged by fire two years ago

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Updated: March 3, 2014 5:01PM



CROWN POINT — A resolution to determine the fate of an abandoned home at 9501 Johnson St. is within reach almost two years after the structure was gutted by fire.

City Attorney David Nicholls said the transfer of the estate to the minor heirs of the home has almost completed its journey through the legal system. A final hearing is expected March 11 in probate court.

“(We expect) the order to be approved and estate status granted,” Nicholls said.

Once the estate has been created, the intent is to sell the home to a builder who has been working with the city, guardians and court. Funds from the sale will be placed in a trust for the heirs. The builder, who will then own the property, plans to gut and reconstruct the home, and sell it.

The home, which was gutted by fire in February 2012, has been an eyesore. The Board of Public Works and Safety in July declared the home a public safety hazard and moved to raze it, going so far as to find a company to demolish the structure.

However, shortly after the action was taken, and before workers had the chance to raze the structure, it was learned minor heirs were involved and their guardians were unaware the home existed until they read about it in the newspaper.

In March, the home’s owner Kristin L. Smith Schnurlein, 43, passed away. The children had not had contact with their mother for some time and were in the guardianship of relatives, Robert Adamczyk of Dyer and his wife, Lisa, Smith Schnurlein’s sister.

City officials in August moved to defer razing the home to allow the family a chance to work with the courts to transfer the property to the children. Officials also required the family to remove several safety hazards from the home, including an empty pool and trampoline, and maintain the lot. They have complied.

Officials continued to defer the demolition as the matter made its way through the courts.



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