The Canal Winchester Times

Noe Bixby Road

Blighted apartments finally will be razed

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After a lengthy court battle, a dilapidated apartment complex at 3232 Noe Bixby Road will be razed.

Madison Township Administrator Susan Brobst announced at the March 20 trustees' meeting that the Franklin County Land Bank had taken control of the property and would demolish the structure and restore the land prior to turning it over to the township.

"A perimeter fence should be up by the end of the month and the utilities are working to cap off the lines," Brobst said. "Once they have it down and the ground seeded, we can file for the title transfer."

Franklin County Land Bank Executive Director Hamilton "Joel" Tea-ford said he is happy for Madison Township that the legal battle involving the 55-unit apartment building is over and the project to tear down the structure can move forward.

The building has been crumbling for almost a decade and had been condemned by Madison Township's fire marshal. The case languished in environmental court for about six years.

"On first appearance, this seems like a solid building, but it is only a brick facade with holes in the roof and backwards drainage, so all of the water on the property has gone straight to the building, rotting the base of the wood structure," Teaford said.

"There's also a buried underground pool that will need removed, and who knows what else is buried there? So, there was no way to save this structure."

He said the project is currently out for bid with subcontractors; work is expected to start by the end of April and to continue for a couple of months.

"Now the township can start talking with residents about what to do with the property once they have title to it," Teaford said. "They've asked that we leave one of the two parking lots intact. We'll level and seed the rest of the property once everything is removed from the demolition."

The cost to demolish the building and recondition the land is covered by joint funding split equally between the Ohio Attorney General's Office and the Franklin County Land Bank. No township funds will be used.

Teaford said he did not have an estimate for the cost of the work.

"It could be in the $50,000 range, but we'll know for sure when the bids come in over the next couple weeks," he said.

Franklin County Treasurer Ed Leonard said efforts to demolish the blighted apartment complex brought together officials from the land bank, the Franklin County prosecutor's office, the health board, environmental court and township government.

Josh Jarman of The Columbus Dispatch contributed to this story.

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