Grove City Record

Council approves contract to demolish dilapidated house

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Grove City will be demolishing a long-time neighborhood eyesore, but the question remains of what will come of the property once the structure on it is razed.

On Monday, July 1, Grove City Council voted unanimously to spend $25,000 for the demolition of a house at 3879 Santa Maria Drive. The city Building and Zoning Division declares the house to be "unsafe" and a "danger."

Councilwoman Maria Klemack-McGraw said she was first alerted of the problem a year ago.

"It's just terrible the way that property looks," she said.

The house's listed owner is Russell L. Beaty, who died in 2007, and according to the ordinance authorizing the appropriation, the property racked up seven separate code violations.

Jennifer Shawler, who lives next door to the condemned property, said she and other neighbors will be glad to see the house go.

"It has been an eyesore for years," she said, adding that it was a problem when her family moved into the neighborhood 13 years ago. "We're aware there are quite a few vermin in there."

City Law Director Stephen Smith said the city will use the money to abate the nuisances the property is generating.

"Our goal is to render the property safe," Smith said.

Currently, there is no timetable for when the demolition will take place, but once it occurs, the property will likely remain vacant for the time being.

"We would not take ownership of the property," Smith said. "We would be putting a lien on it" to recover the razing costs.

Smith said the city is trying to contact Beaty's heirs and have conversations with Franklin County to get something done with the property, including adding it to the county landbank. The city could eventually take ownership of the land, but that's down the road, he said.

"We've been doing everything we can to take care of it ... but we're kind of stuck until someone forecloses on it," Smith said. "County taxes have been accruing for years."

Shawler said she would like to see a little community park or garden if the ground is good.

"Something nice and open," she said. "I just want something done. The quicker the better."

Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage thanked the neighbors affected by the property.

"You've been very patient," he said. "We're glad we can get it down and make it safe."

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