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Valley Flea Market site near Spicer, Minn., cleaned up

The site of the former Valley Flea Market near Spicer, which was damaged by a summer storm, is shown Thursday after the site was cleaned up by an adjoining landowner who is also a family member of the owner of the property. (Tribune photo by Ron Adams)1 / 2
This Dec. 1 file photo shows the site on the day that the Kandiyohi County Board gave property owner Thomas Block one more month to clean up the storm-damaged site. A family member and neighboring property owner has since cleaned up the site in order to meet the county's deadline. (Tribune file photo by Ron Adams)2 / 2

SPICER -- A well-known eyesore along state Highway 23 near Spicer disappeared last week.

The Valley Flea Market, which had been declared a nuisance under Kandiyohi County's zoning ordinance, was razed and the debris removed during the week between Christmas and New Year's.

The work was completed by an adjoining landowner who is related to the property owner, likely saving the county the time and expense of the cleaning the site to eliminate the public hazard.

The owner of the property, Tom Block, had been given until Dec. 31 to clean up the mess, which included a metal shed that had been ripped apart during a storm last year and years' worth of flea market items that were strewn in and around the exposed building.

Block, who does not live in the area, had already failed to meet two November deadlines for cleaning up the property. When he appeared before the County Board of Commissioners in November, he asked for additional time to salvage items that could be sold before bulldozing the building and clearing the site.

Despite the additional time, little progress had been made.

Concerned that the project wouldn't be completed in time to meet the county's deadline and tired of looking at the debris, a family member of Block's, who lives near the flea market site, spent Christmas vacation clearing the site and paid a hefty bill to dispose of the debris at the county landfill.

If the Dec. 31 deadline hadn't been met, the county would've paid the bill to clean it up and put the bill on Block's property taxes.

The county still needs to do a walk-through on the property to make sure the nuisance abatement has been satisfied.

Carolyn Lange

A reporter for more than 30 years, Carolyn Lange covers regional news with the West Central Tribune.

(320) 894-9750