HERE WE go again. Hope surfaced this week that the Bellaire Interstate Toll Bridge will be finally razed.
Benwood and Bellaire residents have heard that refrain all too often and always in vain. But hope springs eternal and that may be the time needed to demolish the deteriorating span.
Various owners have all vowed to take down the bridge. And for countless reasons, it has never come to fruition.
We again see a slight glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.
It comes as a result of a decree from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District, ordering the current owners of the Bellaire Bridge — Krystal and Lee Chaklos of KDC Investments and Delta Demolition — to secure a performance bond needed for the permit to take down the span by June 20.
Should the owners fail to secure the bond by that time, they will have to pay a $1,000 per day fine. Also, once the bond is secured and a permit granted by the city of Benwood, demolition work must start within one week, according to a ruling issued by Judge Algenon L. Marbley.
Such a stern edict may prove the needed stimulus to get the project finally moving. Time will tell.
The ruling comes on the heels of another financial blow incurred by the bridge owners.
On Feb. 26, the judge ordered the bridge owners to pay a fine of $5,000 as a sanction for what he termed “prior conduct” and misleading the court into thinking they were taking appropriate actions in their efforts to take down the bridge. The $5,000 was to be paid by Feb. 27, but the check was received two days late, according to court records. The Chakloses were fined an additional $1,000 per day for the late receipt of the check.
If the bridge owners cannot pay a $5,000 fine on time, it remains to be seen if they have the ability to undertake a project the magnitude of the bridge demolition.
We are pleased to see that Judge Marbley is holding the bridge owners’ feet to the fire in regard to the razing.
Facing a substantial fine may spur the bridge owners to finally do what they should have completed long ago.