ANNANDALE, Minn. (WCCO) — Neighbors are hoping to get rid of the last place Jacob Wetterling’s killer called home.
Danny Heinrich’s house in Annandale has been foreclosed for several months.READ MORE: St. Paul School Board Chair Jeanelle Foster Recovering From COVID
The city has tried to buy it from the bank that owns it but the offers have been turned down.
Simply acquiring the property would be the first step in the process, but neighbors are determined to make sure they have a say in its future.
Council meetings in Annandale don’t draw much of a crowd, but resident Eric Heimkes knew he had to be there Monday night.
“I’m little uncomfortable being up here,” he said as he addressed the council.
Heimkes lives directly across the street from Danny Heinrich’s home, the man who not only admitted to killing Jacob Wetterling but was charged with owning child pornography.
“It’s just a building but it’s not a sentiment that’s shared by all. It is a very emotional thing,” he said. “It’s more of the fact that [Heinrich’s name] comes up all the time and people associate, ‘Oh yeah, you live in that neighborhood,’ and that’s what we’re trying to really move past.”
Heimkes said he talked to a councilor about how he and his neighbors could show they support the idea of tearing down Heinrich’s home. He started an online petition which in a few days garnered more than 250 signatures.READ MORE: What Is Proper Fall Clean-Up Etiquette? And What Methods Are Best For Your Lawn?
“We’d just like to have that property, whatever happens to it, that that name [Heinrich] isn’t attached to it anymore and we move on,” he said.
Some have asked that it be replaced with a community garden, but all city leaders are asking for right now is patience.
“Our biggest fear for that property is that it becomes something that the neighborhood is not proud of,” Mayor Dwight Gunnarson said at the council meeting. He added that the city has made three attempts to buy the property, all of which were rejected.
The idea of tearing down the property and turning it into something wasn’t up for a vote at the meeting. It was simply Heimke’s and several others’ chance to share their feelings with the council and hope their leaders listen.
“We don’t want to be known as ‘that’ neighborhood. We want something positive to be done, whatever that might be,” Heimke said.
We did speak with Coldwell Banker Burnett, the Twin Cities real estate company that represents the owners of the property JPMorgan Chase.
We wanted to know why the city’s offers have been turned down.
Coldwell Banker said we would have to reach out to JPMorgan and so far we have not heard back from them.MORE NEWS: Online Learning Apps Helping Kids Catch Up From Pandemic-Compromised School Year