CARSON CITY — The saga of the infamous Kellogg Kellogg Elevator Co. will have no shortage of chapters when the story eventually comes to a close.
More than three years after an agreement was established between property owner Dennis Kellogg and Carson City officials to remove the grain elevator structures — which have been idle for more than 20 years — over a period of two years, the majority of the buildings still stand, either partially demolished or fully intact.
City officials have long expressed concerns over safety and blight, to the point where the city has now filed a lawsuit against Kellogg.
According to city attorney Tom Wilson, the city “filed a lawsuit under our zoning ordinance against Mr. Kellogg related to a nuisance for his Kellogg elevators. We recently met with (Kellogg) in a pre-trial and worked out an interim order.”
Wilson said the interim order stipulates that Kellogg has until March 23 to obtain property permits from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality to commence tearing down portions of the buildings.
“They are supposed to be fencing it off to protect the public,” he said. “He has agreed, and he will proceed to work with the city. Then we’re probably going to be filing something else with him in a month.”
The structures on the site were classified under the city’s dangerous buildings ordinance in 2013, which requires that the owner of the property take measures to repair the buildings to make them safe or have them removed.
After several months, Kellogg agreed to tear down the buildings and hired Richard Garlick of PresCon Industries Inc. in Rockford to do the job. The company began working on the project in September 2013, but work slowed throughout the winter months and had completely stalled by 2015.
Several large silos have been removed from the site, along with portions of one of the elevator’s main buildings, but two other elevator structures and silos on adjacent properties owned within the Kellogg family still remain untouched on site.
On Feb. 17, Kellogg’s property at 807 N. Division St. was foreclosed upon by Montcalm County. According to Montcalm County Treasurer JoAnne Vukin, Kellogg has until March 31 to redeem the property by paying off the unpaid 2014 taxes on the property, which amount to approximately $2,500.
Vukin said a second address at 818 N. Division St., where some demolition has occurred, is in good standing and listed under the ownership of Central Bean and Grain Co., although according to Michigancorporates.com, that business was dissolved in 1989.
According to county records, the properties owned by the Kellogg family total 4.18 acres, including two parcels listed under the ownership of Central Bean and Grain Co., and the third parcel, listed in Kellogg’s name.
Kellogg, who lives in Ithaca but maintains his residence north of Carson City, has previously stated he has ambitions for the properties to be utilized for new industry, using an existing but closed railway that runs from Carson City to Ashley in Gratiot County.
If Kellogg foregoes the unpaid taxes, Carson City Administrator Jean Southward said the city has no intention of obtaining the property.
“We (would) have the option to pay them or not pay them, but we (would) opt not to pay them because we don’t want the property back,” she said.
Southward said results of phase I and phase II environmental studies showed that the property has contamination.
“If you buy it, you clean it up, and that makes it difficult,” she said.