Land bank demos 67 properties

Published 8:25 am Friday, December 15, 2017

Rockwood Avenue first projects of 2018

The Lawrence County Land Bank had its final meeting of the year on Wednesday, going over the accomplishments of 2017, as well as what’s to come in 2018 and beyond.

Stephen Burcham, county treasurer and head of the land bank, said that a total of 67 structures were demolished from June, when demolitions began, through the present.

Burcham said that the land bank is currently awaiting a bid on an asbestos cleanup company to begin its next set of demolitions, which are five structures on Rockwood Ave. in Chesapeake. If the bid is received within the next few days, Burcham said work will begin in the area around Jan. 8, but if the bid isn’t received until after the first of the year, the Rockwood Ave. demolitions wouldn’t begin until late January or early February.

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“We’re hoping to get those done as soon as possible once we get the asbestos bid back,” Burcham said. “The Rockwood Ave. area is difficult to get around, and the demolitions will cause some traffic delays on State Route 7. So during demolitions, people are advised to find an alternate way around if possible.”

Burcham added that each demolition typically takes about a day and a half to two days, so the five Rockwood Avenue structures would be around a week and a half or ten weeks to complete once started. A better timetable of the Rockwood Avenue demolitions will be available sometime in the near future.

Burcham said he is very proud of the land bank, its staff and all it has accomplished in its first year.

“I’m proud of our team and that we’ve been able to accomplish so much in such a little bit of time,” Burcham said. “Our efforts are important in cleaning up blighted properties, where illegal activity often occurs.”

He added that in the six months of demolitions this year, drugs, paraphernalia and drug manufacturing equipment and supplies have been found on multiple occasions.

“I’m thankful for all of the other offices in the county as well for their efforts in making us successful,” Burcham said. “The commissioners for allowing the land bank to get started in the county, Prosecuting Attorney Brigham Anderson and his staff have been fantastic, the clerk of courts for mailing out the notices and legals, the auditor for transferring information and the recorder for recording all of the deeds. The land bank just about touches every office in the county in some way.”

Burcham said that the land bank is hoping to knock down between 100 and 125 structures in 2018.