By Maralisa Marra
The Shinnston Development Authority has compiled a list of Shinnston’s dilapidated buildings, according to City Manager Chad Edwards, who is also a member of the SDA.
“We are moving forward,” Edwards said, but he also said that “the key word with this is money.”
Edwards said that compiling the list of structures that need attention was the first part, but every building that made the cut does not necessarily require demolition.
“It [the list] can go anywhere from certain things that need touched up to things that just need torn down,” Edwards said.
Although the city has the ability to officially condemn a building if need be, Edwards said a condemned building has to be demolished within a certain time frame.
He said that requires financial support, especially if asbestos is present. If so, it raises the price of demolition, Edwards said.
“The house on Charles Street, for example, it has to be treated as asbestos because it burned…because if it burns, then it is considered asbestos,” Edwards said.
In February, Edwards had said the city planned to sue Charleston-based NAJ LLC over that structure; in April, he said NAJ LLC had offered to give the city the property instead. Although it is unknown whether or not this property has asbestos, since it has burned, it must be treated as asbestos no matter what.
The property is not yet in the hands of the city because NAJ LLC broke their agreement with the city, according to Edwards. Edwards said that NAJ LLC was supposed to give all of their properties to the city and stop buying properties within city limits, but a couple weeks ago, the city discovered that NAJ LLC bought another property in town.
Edwards noted that there are forms of funding coming soon, including money from a statewide opioid settlement with manufacturers like Johnson & Johnson, Endo, and Teva.
“Because these houses are being used for nefarious purposes sometimes, then we can use some of that money to tear down houses,” Edwards said.
He also mentioned that the Legislature passed a bill that was proposed by State Auditor J.B. McCuskey to set aside a fund for dilapidated houses. Edwards hopes that fund will help tackle the dilapidated building issue in Shinnston.
The bill in which Edwards referred to is the Community Resurrection and Economic Development Act that will “set aside taxpayer money to help municipalities demolish buildings that cannot be salvaged,”, according to the Charleston Gazette-Mail.
“Things are looking up,” Edwards said.
The city is still waiting on more information about the Community Resurrection and Economic Development Act.
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