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franklin county times

A time to tear down

Demolishing these unsafe building is another step in the city’s efforts toward downtown redevelopment.
Demolishing these unsafe building is another step in the city’s efforts toward downtown redevelopment.

By Alison James



Lawrence Street is looking at a better and brighter tomorrow with the demolition of two dilapidated buildings last week.

“We just want to encourage people city-wide to keep their properties maintained and have them look as nice as they possibly can. It just makes our city look better,” said Mayor David Grissom, who was pleased to see the buildings come down without any problems.

Buildings at 215 and 217 Lawrence Street West were damaged by a fire years ago, according to license and building inspector Bill Fuller. “We were trying to figure out a way to get them down without damaging the building on the end,” Fuller said. “It’s going to be tricky.” The council officially voted to declare the buildings a nuisance at its Aug. 16 meeting.

“Myself and the council decided some time ago that we wanted to try to make downtown and the entire city as good as we could make it,” Grissom said. “It’s a positive step to help clean up our town. Those buildings were damaged years ago by fire. The owners were given due process to take care of the cleanup themselves, but the council voted at the last meeting to declare them unsafe structures and abate the nuisance.”

Demolition was carried out by Hovater’s Metal Works, a local general contractor, beginning first thing last Wednesday morning. City workers disposed of the debris in the landfill on Highway 24.

“I think people want our city cleaned up and want it to look as nice as they can make it look,” Grissom said. “We need that. We’re trying daily to attract new business, new retail. It’s important our city look as nice as we can make it look to hopefully attract  new business to our town.”

The demolitions come following an update in the ordinance in June. Grissom said the city has addressed 25 compliance issues since that time.

“That’s anything from grass too high in the yards to this type thing as well,” he said.

It all plays into the plan for downtown redevelopment, which is ongoing.

“One of the keys is having downtown as clean as you can make it – make it presentable and make people want to come downtown,” Grissom said.