GALLIPOLIS — Gallipolis brought down the old carryout structure at the corner of Fourth Avenue and Pine Street after months of legal proceedings revolving around eminent domain court action as the city attempts to tackle dilapidated buildings throughout town.
According to City Manager Gene Greene, the city will look to demolishing a structure on Cedar Street, next.
The city had attempted to contact a variety of different lien holders and owners of an old carryout property at 754 Fourth Avenue since July 2015. Gallipolis City Commission granted the city solicitor authority to move forward with legal action in the Gallia County Court of Common Pleas to appropriate the property and then reportedly demolish and rehabilitate the property.
An ordinance passed earlier by the commission has also established a registration for owners of vacant buildings, whether they be residential or commercial. Buildings need registered with the code enforcement officer. The ordinance would also sets an inspection schedule for a twice-a-year examination. The ordinance attempts to establish an escrow practice in which if an owner was looking to demolish a structure, then an owner would need to offer an amount of money as an insurance bond with the city. According to previous information from City Solicitor Adam Salisbury, this would promote owners to destroy a building completely. If not, the city could then use the money in holding to finish the demolition. Lastly, the ordinance creates a fee schedule if a vacant building was not being remodeled or occupied. The first year a building owner would pay $200 on the vacant or non-remodeled building. The fee would then double every year to a maximum of five years.
“It’s been two years and the city has been fighting and fighting and fight,” said Gallipolis City Commission President Tony Gallagher. “We had 21 lien holders to find. We’ve finally got all those taken care of … We were able to get it torn down. This has been a thorn in our side in the city because it was the worst looking building in the city. If you came off 160 from out of town, this was the first thing you saw.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.