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February 28, 2013

City prepares for 3 home demolitions

$140,000 more needed to tear down additional 4

A nearly depleted Unsafe Building Fund is forcing the city to only be able to take on three more demolitions, with four to follow as financing becomes available.

The three scheduled for demolition include 514 Wheatland Ave., 920 W. Miami Ave. and 1224 Spear St., based on the amount of money left in the fund. Bill Drinkwine, Logansport building commissioner, said he felt these three were in the worst condition and should be addressed first, adding an additional $140,000 would be needed to tackle the remaining four.

All seven of the property owners were issued two 10-day notices requiring them to appear at Logansport Board of Public Works and Safety meetings, which are held at 9 a.m. every Wednesday in the City Building.

View Properties to be demolished in a larger map

Drinkwine said he’s received signatures on five of these notices and has been in and out of communication with the owners.

Drinkwine said the desire to demolish these properties stems from a number of problems, including structural damage and lack of cooperation from owners.

“In my evaluation, each one of these properties doesn’t have enough value to put money into and then have a marketable commodity,” Drinkwine said.

The property at 214 W. Clinton Ave. is owned by Jeff Murray of Kokomo, who owns several properties in Logansport. Murray is currently facing legal consequences for the ongoing disregard of the properties he owns.

“There’s actually a tree growing up through the center of the house,” Drinkwine said.

Drinkwine went on to list the problems afflicting the other properties, which include a collapsed foundation, a caved-in roof and fire damage. Two of them are damaged in such a way that the interiors of the buildings are exposed.

As funding becomes available, the Logansport Building Department will begin demolition at the four remaining properties, which are located at 128 Wheatland Ave., 214 W. Clinton St., 529 Washington St. and 823 Race St.

The city has had as many as 80 properties on the condemned property list, according to city records. The council transferred $200,000 from landfill tipping fees last year to bolster the $50,000 it budgeted to address unsafe or condemned buildings. During talks of tearing down its first home in the 1300 block of Spear Street, city officials received a verbal estimate of $6,000 to tear it down, and it did the work for $3,000.

Mayor Ted Franklin said he has requested that Drinkwine prepare a report to present to city council in an effort to secure more funding.

“I think it’d be wise to inform council as to where we’re at and put together a report complete with pictures with everything we’ve done so far along with some photographs of these properties and the condition they’re in,” Franklin said.

Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or mitchell.kirk@pharostribune.com.

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