the republic logo

Officials move on blighted buildings

Follow The Republic:

The city is accepting bids until Sept. 2 for contracts to demolish seven structures in its biggest effort in more than a decade to eliminate blighted buildings.

Since June, the Columbus Board of Public Works and Safety has considered demolition orders for 22 properties scattered throughout the city.

Twenty properties remain on the demolition or rehab list after city officials rescinded one order and allowed another property owner more time to renovate the property.

The Columbus City Council has appropriated an additional $200,000 this year in general fund money to help with demolishing some of those buildings and will consider an additional $100,000 proposed in next year’s budget.

Mayor Kristen Brown said that’s all in an effort to address a backlog of properties that have generated “repeated and vociferous complaints by neighbors.”

Seven of those properties, part of a list of nine considered by the board in June, will be demolished soon. On Sept. 2, the board will open bids for contracts to demolish those properties, City Attorney Jeff Logston said.

The board heard about the condition of an additional 13 properties last week, confirming demolition orders for two buildings and asking for future updates on six. Board members also rescinded the order for one property and directed Logston to give notice by publication for four properties whose owners had not responded to a notification letter from the city.

All of the properties in question are nuisances and safety hazards and have reached a state where they pose an actual danger to the public, Brown said. Condemning and demolishing them is the city’s way of using what it has in its toolbox to help Columbus neighborhoods, she said.

Upcoming meetings

The Columbus Board of Public Works and Safety may have more special meetings to hear from owners of condemned buildings set for demolition or rehabilitation. Those meetings would take place as needed on Tuesdays at 6 p.m., alternating weeks with Columbus City Council meetings.

The board also will have public hearings on unsafe buildings during its standard meetings at 10 a.m. on Sept. 9, Oct. 7 and Nov. 5.

“This is one initiative that’s part of a bigger goal of revitalizing neighborhoods and making them safe and proud,” she said.

The city, she said, should be able to get through the backlog this year, after which the board would proceed with hearings on a case-by-case basis.

And Brown said that based on what she’s hearing, the people who live near the properties are “delighted that action is being taken.”

Neighbors, like Isabel Nowlin, told the board that they appreciate the city’s efforts to move forward with getting rid of blighted properties.

Nowlin lives a block south of 938 Franklin St., one of the properties that the board confirmed a demolition order for last week.

Nowlin and others who live in the vicinity of the former boarding house said they’re concerned about what might happen to their property values if the building, which has extensive damage from a June fire, remains standing in its current condition.

But Tom Clark, the property manager for 938 Franklin St., said he was disappointed with the board’s decision to confirm the order rather than continue the hearing on the property.

Clark and property owner Monroe Pendleton had planned to sell the house, and the two, along with Realtor Aaron Clark, pleaded their case for nearly an hour before the board opted to confirm the order for demolition.

Demolition list

The city now has 20 properties on its list of properties requiring demolition or rehabilitation after rescinding the order for one property last week.

The Columbus Board of Public Works and Safety has confirmed the demolition order for nine properties:

  • 352 Jones St.
  • 241 Pence St
  • 251 Pence St.
  • 252 Pence St.
  • 2440 Indiana Ave.
  • 596 Glendale Drive
  • 1510 Pearl St.
  • 938 Franklin St.
  • 1027 Pennsylvania St., order effective Aug. 26

The board directed City Attorney Jeff Logston to give notice by publication on four properties:

  • 727 Reed St.
  • 834 Werner Ave.
  • 371 Jones St.
  • 1317 Ninth St.

The board continued hearings for six properties:

  • 1036 Union St.: Hearing continued to 10 a.m. Sept. 9 to allow a new owner time to remodel and give the board a progress report.
  • 1313 Ninth St.: Hearing continued to 10 a.m. Sept. 9; owner will board access point in the basement and seal off access through an open awning.
  • 2020 Sixth St.: Hearing continued to 10 a.m. Oct. 7; owner had 48 hours to secure a large gap in the foundation.
  • 2013 N. Cherry St.: Hearing continued to Nov. 5; owner has demolished but must keep up a fence surrounding the property and open basement while working to obtain a modular home.
  • 2143 23rd St.: Hearing continued to 10 a.m. Sept. 9; owner will give a progress report on clearing out debris and beginning rehabilitation.
  • 48 S. Hinman St.: Hearing continued to 10 a.m. Oct. 7

Additionally, the board had required that a commercial property at 2121 State St. be rehabbed, including boarding windows, trash and vegetation removal and roof repair.

Think your friends should see this? Share it with them!

All content copyright ©2016 The Republic, a publication of AIM Media Indiana unless otherwise noted.
All rights reserved. Privacy policy.