Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard says the demolition of a condemned apartment building last week is just the first step in a concentrated and continuous effort to identify and eradicate problem sites in the city.

Whitehall Mayor Kim Maggard says the demolition of a condemned apartment building last week is just the first step in a concentrated and continuous effort to identify and eradicate problem sites in the city.

"I've kind of got a taste for it now," said Maggard, who levied the first blow Aug. 18 into the side of an abandoned and condemned apartment building at 115 Shumaker Lane.

Maggard was the first to hop into an excavator and knock down a brick wall on the side of the apartment building.

Franklin County Treasurer Ed Leonard took a turn as well, knocking down more of the building before a professional crew took over. The demolition was completed several days later.

"It felt great," Maggard said about the opportunity to participate in the demolition and to further her goal of reducing blight in the city.

"That apartment building has been a sore spot," the first-term mayor said.

"Since I've been mayor, it's been boarded up, but it's still been a haven for squatters and also has attracted vandals and drug activity," Maggard said.

"It felt good to take some swings at it -- real good," she said.

The 32-unit apartment complex sat on about 1 acre and had been vacant for about six years, said Development Director Zach Woodruff, since the city's code-enforcement division ordered tenants to vacate it because it was deemed unsafe.

There were crumbling concrete landings and other structural deficiencies that needed to be addressed, Woodruff said.

Rater than invest in the required repairs, the owner sold the property, which passed through several hands before the city had the opportunity to purchase it for $25,000, Woodruff said.

The Whitehall Community Investment Corp. partnered with the Columbus Community Investment Corp. to fund the estimated $180,000 demolition project, Maggard said.

As the owners of the newly razed parcel, Whitehall has control of its fate.

Woodruff said the city has not identified any future uses for the site, but that "it does not lend itself to apartments."

The parcel is south of East Broad Street and west of South Hamilton Road, just southwest of Fairway Boulevard.

"We would like to see some sort of commercial use for it," Woodruff said.