And they all fall down

Published 12:31 pm Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Lawrence County Land Reutilization Corporation met on Thursday morning to discuss its current demolition projects and plans for future demolition, as well as property sales.

“We’ve demolished the first five houses,” said board chairman Stephen Burcham, adding they were “just the beginning of many.”

Director of the land bank, Tom Schneider, said that while they were initially worried about being able to proceed in a timely manner, the demolitions have been progressing fairly quickly.

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“We will have all five grade ready… and marketable, vacant lots within nine business days,” he said, explaining that even those properties where grading needed done for crawlspaces or basements hadn’t held up progress.

The next round of demolitions will include up to 35 properties, with two of those bid packets considered “hot” because of asbestos on properties included in the packets. Demolition packets for those projects were made available on July 10, and bids are due in by July 19. The land bank will hold a special meeting at 10 a.m. on July 20, to open and approve those bids.

In other action, the board moved to amend its corporate resolution, to allow the chair to execute deeds as well as the executive director and discussed the need for a move to securing homes with clear boarding, rather than plywood, per new state mandates. Clear boarding, a polycarbonate material that is shatter proof, costs up to $169 per board, but provides more security and is less unsightly than traditional materials for securing abandoned homes.

It also moved to approve Donahue Brothers, Inc. as a new demolition contractor, accepted a bid on unbuildable land at 111 South Fourth Street, in Chesapeake, and moved to table an offer on 2523 South Third Street, in Ironton, for three months while they consider future uses.

Schneider also discussed asbestos analysis reports and investing in a point count for low-level asbestos products used in the home. Some older household items, Schneider explained, like certain grouting or mastic products, might have low levels of asbestos in them. If they do not do a point count for asbestos level, then the house needs to be abated, at great cost in time and resources. If, however, a point count shows that the asbestos concentration is below a certain level, the product can simply be bagged and removed, rather than doing full abatement of the property. The small upfront investment, he explained, could result in significant savings in money and time for some future demolitions.

The band also discussed their first set of judicial cases, filed on June 29, and their next round of cases, filed on Thursday, as well as asking villages and townships for support in making condemned structures available to the land bank, as well as requesting assistance from prosecutor Brigham Anderson’s office in drafting a legal opinion for condemned properties that are not tax delinquent.