City moves forward with home demolition plans

GREENFIELD — City officials are moving forward with plans to demolish a dilapidated home on the city’s south side after the home’s owner failed to clean up the problem property.

This week, city officials hired Robertson Paving out of Flat Rock to demolish the home sitting at 19 Tague St. for $9,700. Building inspectors believe the home’s siding is filled with asbestos. Cleaning it up will add up to $6,000 to the bill — which will fall to the homeowner, who no longer lives there, to pay through a tax lien — if the contractor finds the toxic substance in the home.

The house was one of three abandoned properties targeted for demolition this year. To date, city officials have received no responses from the property’s owner, they say.

The property at 19 Tague St. is in such disrepair it’s falling in on itself; some rooms have no floor, city documents state. Additionally, the home’s doors and windows are broken.

Since February, city officials have been taking legal action to demolish the structure. Work to raze the building should begin in coming weeks.

Owners of the other two homes identified as problem properties this year have stepped up to repair or demolish the homes, city officials said.

Cole Hood, who purchased 315 W. South St. in a tax sale last fall, has braced the structure to give it more stability until he can legally enter the house next spring, planner and building administrator Joanie Fitzwater said in a meeting this week. Hood has been unable to access the inside of the house because of tax sale laws that give owners time to redeem their property. It could be April before he gains full ownership.

City officials also have been in contact with the property owner of 773 S. Pennsylvania St., a rundown trailer. A representative for Dudley Property Management, listed as the property’s owner on city documents, told officials the company will pay for the trailer to be demolished, Fitzwater said.

Mayor Chuck Fewell said the city will give Dudley Property Management until July 12 to go through with the demolition or the city will intervene. Officials already have quotes for the project and could hire Fisk Services to do the work for roughly $3,300.

Fewell said city leaders always want to give property owners the chance to address problems, but the property needs to be cleaned up.

“I want to rid our city of the blight,” he said, “but we also want to give property owners the chance to intervene.”

The city council budgeted $20,000 to deal with problem properties this year. As much as $10,000 could be left over after the Tague Street home is demolished, so city officials might target another home this year for demolition. At least six of the 24 problem properties officials are watching need to come down as soon as possible, Fitzwater has said.

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Samm Quinn is a reporter at the Greenfield Daily Reporter. She can be reached at 317-477-3275 or squinn@greenfieldreporter.com.