Former Winnebago County law enforcement center auction

Bruce Hegelson of Haweye Auction & Real Estate, right, reads the rules for the auction of the former Winnebago County law enforcement center on Nov. 20.

FOREST CITY | The Winnebago County Board of Supervisors rejected the one and only bid received during the Nov. 20 auction of its former law enforcement center building and land.

The supervisors deemed the $2,000 bid too low. 

Auctioneer Bruce Helgeson from Hawkeye Auction & Real Estate started the bidding at $50,000 for the building and land. When no bids were received, he lowered it to $25,000 and then $2,000. 

The supervisors reserved the right to reject any bids received. 

The auction took place inside the former law enforcement center, located across the street from the courthouse. The facility was originally built as a hospital in 1934 and converted into a jail in 1976.

The new Winnebago County Public Safety Center was completed earlier this year. The supervisors decided to hold an auction to sell the former law enforcement center and its contents.

Furnishings and equipment from the building were auctioned after the bidding ended on the structure itself. The public was invited to bid on individual items or the contents of an entire room.

"We got rid of some stuff," said Supervisor Terry Durby during the Nov. 21 board of supervisors meeting. 

But it's still disappointing the only bid on the building and land was so low, Supervisor Bill Jensvold told the Summit following the meeting. 

Now the supervisors have to decide on another way to dispose of the property.

Jensvold said those options could include advertising it through a real estate agent.

Now that the public has been given a chance to bid on the property through an auction, Jensvold said one option the county could look at is demolishing the building.

City Administrator Barb Smith told the Summit the land where the former law enforcement center sits is currently zoned residential/multi-family dwelling, but a business could be located in the building if the new owners were granted a variance.

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