By Andrea Cordle
On Jan. 25, the Prairie Township Board of Trustees held a special hearing where they decided to move forward with the removal of the Galloway Village Apartments.
Last month, the Franklin County Board of Health declared the apartments, located on North Murray Hill Road, a public nuisance and designated all the buildings on the property as unfit for human habitation.
During the hearing, representatives from the township’s zoning and fire department testified about the ongoing issues at the apartment complex. Officials from the health department and the sheriff’s office also spoke about the conditions at the complex.
Inspectors found mold, bed bugs, rats, needles, feces, and numerous fire code violations. The sheriff’s office has been called to the complex hundreds of times in the past year.
An attorney representing the Chetrit Group out of New York, who owns the property, attended the hearing, and asked the trustees for more time to find a satisfactory resolution.
The trustees were hesitant to grant that request because township officials had been trying to get in touch with the property owners for the past year to help in dealing with the issues.
“We would be pushing it, to come up with a reason why we should not go ahead with the proposed resolution and secure and demolish the buildings,” said trustee Doug Stormont.
Michael Stimler, who was on hand representing Rockcrest Holdings, a potential buyer of Galloway Village Apartments, asked the trustees for patience and to give them time to review the state of the property and come back with a timeline for renovations.
“We wouldn’t be here today if we didn’t think the property could be fixed,” he said.
The trustees decided to approve the resolution to proceed with the demolition of the apartment buildings but said if an agreement could be reached within the next few weeks, they would revisit the legislation.
According to Prairie Township, Galloway Village Apartments were built between 1962 and 1964. There are 36 buildings that include more than 350 apartments and 96 town homes. About 90 tenants were living in the complex when it was deemed unfit for occupation.
The Franklin County Public Health Care Coordination team held several meetings in the township to help provide support and resources to tenants of the complex. These resources included relocation assistance, transportation assistance, and health care. The Franklin County Board of Commissioners set aside $1 million in funding to provide this support for the Galloway Village residents.
“Franklin County Public Health will continue to work with the Franklin County Board of Commissioners, Prairie Township, and other local officials and community partners to ensure the Galloway Village tenants find a safe and healthy place to reside,” said Joe Mazzola, Franklin County Public Health commissioner.