Pharos-Tribune

December 10, 2012

Cleaning up properties in Logansport

Board of Public Works begins demolition of two homes

by Caitlin Huston
Pharos-Tribune

LOGANSPORT — The city is looking to crack down on condemned homes, as two Seventh street structures are in the process of demolition.

The two houses, at 80 and 82 Seventh St., were ordered to be demolished at a November board of works meeting because of their unsafe conditions. At today’s board of works meeting, members are looking at more condemned homes that could also possibly be up for demolition.

Bill Drinkwine, Logansport’s building commissioner, said the two homes on Seventh Street had been vacant for more than three years and had been classified unsafe structures since 1999.

“They’re uninhabitable,” Drinkwine said.

The two houses did not have any utilities and had holes in the walls and foundation, Drinkwine said.

The board of works voted unanimously to demolish the homes.

Before the demolition was approved, however, Drinkwine said the board followed procedure to give legal notice to Joe Dunn, the owner of the properties, and invited him to appear before the board.

Drinkwine said Dunn did come before the board and was given the option to stop demolition, but he would have to put up a cash surety that would guarantee repair work. Drinkwine said Dunn did not want the buildings to be demolished, but that he did not have the money for repairs.

“He was against the demolition in the sense that he has a desire to continue to hold the properties as they are,” Drinkwine said.  

Dunn did not return multiple calls seeking comment.

Earlier this year, the city demolished 1305 Spear Street in its first effort to clear our condemned properties. The city has a list of 36 condemned homes to be demolished soon. The Seventh street homes weren’t specifically targeted, but rather were the next to complete the procedures.

“There was no specific reason that these two were chosen first,” Drinkwine said.

The reason the board of works is taking a serious look at this list is because of the danger the houses pose to the neighborhoods, Drinkwine said.

“We find people that are living in the back or kids playing games inside these or even crack houses in two of these that we know of,” Drinkwine said.

Board member Ron Miller said neighbors living near the condemned houses have also complained. Living near the condemned properties can lower the value of their own homes, he said.

“I think the neighbors have been waiting long enough to get something done with the properties,” Miller said.

Miller said he believes the board will deal with the homes that are perceived to be the most dangerous first.

He said he believes the two homes on 12th Street, in particular, are a danger the community.

“I drive by these properties and it wasn’t getting any better,” Miller said.

But Miller said the board will work to try to fix properties, before deciding on demolition.

“The last thing in the world anybody wants to do is to destroy a piece of property somebody else owns,” Miller said.

However, Miller said sometimes the homes are in too much disrepair.

“It gets to a point where it has to come down,” Miller said.  

For the Seventh Street homes, Drinkwine said three construction companies bid on the demolition and B&G Construction offered the lowest rates.

B&G Construction was issued a $15,000 contract to tear down the homes, according to a building permit.

The demolition is expected to take about six days. At the end of the demolition, the spaces will essentially look like plots of land, Drinkwine said.

With the plot of land, Drinkwine said the city will be looking for someone else to rebuild.

“The city is going to work as they always have to try to locate someone who’s willing to reconstruct new homes on these lots.” Drinkwine said.

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or caitlin.huston@pharostribune.com.

Impending Demolition of Properties

74 Seventh St.

1000 E. Broadway

1006 E. Broadway

512 North St.

631 North St.

217-219 12th St.

627 North St.

1 General St./old General Tire

1401 Wright St.

801 High St.