Thursday, November 8th, 2012
By William Kincaid
Crew tears down unsafe building
  CELINA - Several unsafe structures have been knocked down by the city after council members enacted new legislation in the spring to combat blight.
The first unsafe building notice went out in June and since then, seven buildings have been razed by either city employees or property owners.
Six more dilapidated buildings are scheduled to go down, and after the winter, city officials will go after more, safety service director Tom Hitchcock said Wednesday afternoon.
No property owners ordered to either raze or repair their structures have filed an appeal, Mayor Jeff Hazel said.
The city has spent approximately $3,000 in labor and work to demolish buildings for owners who asked the city to do so, Hitchcock said. Those costs and remaining costs will be paid by the property owners or through grants.
A vacant home at 1031 E. Livingston St., owned by Mary Kay Fries of Celina, was selected by the city to be demolished with funds from Mercer County's $123,000 Moving Ohio Forward grant, which encourages the demolition of vacant, run-down buildings for the purpose of economic development. The funds are derived from a $25 billion national settlement with the nation's five largest mortgage lenders for foreclosure abuses, fraud and unacceptable mortgage practices.
That home was razed by Shinn Brothers earlier this week for $5,000.
Other properties razed by city employees were a dilapidated, barn-like garage at 120 N. Lake St. owned by Donald Zeller, and five run-down buildings owned by Norfolk Southern Railroad on the southern end of town.
The following properties were either repaired or razed by their owners upon notice from the city: a partial garage at 423 E. Livingston St. owned by Thomas and Tara Mallory of Celina; a barn at 633 Hierholzer St. owned by Richard Schwieterman of Coldwater; a small garage at 108 S. Elm St. owned by Chase Bank of Columbus; and a barn-like structure at 528 Sycamore St. owned by Jennifer Shaffer of Celina.
City officials have not yet received a response from Willis and Beverly Gilleo of Celina whose garage/barn at 205 Stella St. was ordered razed on Sept. 28. The couple has until Nov. 27 to demolish the structure on their own or a city crew will be authorized to tear it down.
A deteriorating structure at 130 S. Buckeye St. owned by Carol Lacy of Celina and a worn-down home at 1037 West Bank Road owned by Meredith Nottingham of Celina will be torn down in the coming days for approximately $13,000. A Mercer County CDBG Neighborhood Stabilization Program grant will pay for the demolition, Hitchcock said.
Also, the demolition of the former Gibbons Hospital and surrounding buildings on East Fayette Street owned by Harbor Life Ministries are scheduled to be taken down next week by VTF Excavation for $109,000. The work will be paid by Harbor Life Ministries, which was issued a $60,000 grant through the city and a $60,000 city revolving loan.
Hitchcock is authorized to act as building inspector and deem structures dangerous or unfit. If he determines the costs of repairs to a structure would exceed 100 percent of its current value, it must be demolished, according to city law. If the structure has been closed or boarded-up for at least two years, it also must be demolished.
A preliminary survey of structures within the city indicated that 40 buildings, including 10 homes, likely fit the definition of unsafe buildings.
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