One of the most important duties of our public officials is protecting the people they serve.
That is why Shadyside Mayor Robert Newhart and village council members are taking concerns about some dilapidated properties so seriously. They are exploring options for tearing down the building at the corner of East 39th Street and Central Avenue.
Councilmen Tim Merryman and Tim Rodgers said Monday that the two-story building could collapse at any moment. That is certainly something to be worried about. Barricades have been erected to prevent pedestrians from passing close by, and school buses have been rerouted to avoid the danger.
Those are steps in the right direction, but the building itself really needs to be demolished. Merryman and Rodgers believe it is an imminent danger to public safety.
The property is owned by the estate of the late Robert Bond and located at 3896 and 3898 Central Ave. The two executors of the estate are Bond’s son, also named Robert Bond, who lives in Colorado, and Gary DeTemple of Wheeling.
Demolition is estimated to cost $40,000 to $100,000. Newhart said if asbestos is discovered inside, the cost could double or triple. Other complications include three tax liens with the state of Ohio, delinquent taxes with Belmont County and a pending lawsuit involving the estate that is set to go to trial in May.
Newhart also said if the village tears down the building, citing an imminent danger emergency, it cannot recoup the money from Bond’s estate.
There are seven dilapidated structures in Shadyside that need attention, according to Newhart’s administrative assistant Marsha Soos, several of which are owned by Bond’s estate. That amounts to a problem that may be too big for this tiny community to solve on its own.
Village leaders should continue seeking ways to fund the demolition and to eliminate the hazard. We also hope that the executors of the estate will work with the community in an effort to resolve the problem before the structure collapses with some unforeseen, tragic result.