Monday, April 20, 2015

The Tale of Two Demolition Projects

Over the past few weeks, many questions have come up regarding the building on North Avenue (117-125 North Avenue) that was taken down on March 21 due to the emergency situation, and which caused damage to an adjacent building and harm to a longtime business, which has had to relocate. There also seems to be some confusion over construction terms used. What was explained is that the term "by hand" means that no explosives or wrecking balls could be used. It does not mean literally "by hand." As a part of my administration's commitment to transparency and openness, we have posted all documents relating to the demolition. 

Unfortunately, questions remain, and the city council has refused to pass the resolution to pay the contractor for the work done so far. The governing body is placing itself in a precarious and unprecedented situation. It is unprecedented when one examines "The Tale of 2 Demolition Projects," a document that I am posting which shows the particulars and the timeline of what the council did with the other North Avenue building (181-191 North Avenue), which was taken down under the Robinson-Briggs administration in 2010, in comparison with what my administration is doing. Please note especially three items regarding 2010: 1) the timeline between violations citations and order to demolish; 2) the R&V structural report date; 3) the "Imminent Hazard" notices (one in April 2009 and one in March 2010--almost a year later).

In 2010, the council fully cooperated with the Robinson-Briggs administration, even though the administration clearly took its time in dealing with this imminent danger. What's more--there is no record of a state agency being notified or sending a letter of approval for the emergency demolition of 181-191 North Avenue, as required by law.  Further, the Robinson-Briggs administration never placed a lien on that property to recover the demolition costs. Please note also that the price for taking the building down in 2010 dollars was $181,153.00. I have prepared a resolution for the May agenda to attach a lien for the $181,153.00 demolition cost. The total of existing liens amounts to $444,183.39. 

I am placing these documents here so that you may understand that what my administration did in trying to remove this imminent hazard was done as expeditiously as possible within the requirements of state statute. The documents I have posted below clearly illustrate that the previous administration sat on this situation for years. However, when the 2010 demolition finally took place, the contractor was paid. For the city council to reject payment of the bill from the current contractor leaves the city in a precarious state, and they have offered no reasonable explanation for refusing to do so.


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