Prairie Township sets vacate date for condemned apartments

By Andrea Cordle

Westside Editor

In late January, the Prairie Township trustees held a special hearing where they decided to demolish the Galloway Village Apartments. Now, remaining residents have until March 18 to vacate the property.

According to James Jewell, Prairie Township administrator, the owners of the property had until Feb. 24 to appeal the trustees’ decision.

“The owner did not appeal, and the township did not receive a formal proposal from the owner to repair the site,” said Jewell.

Now, Jewell said, the township is currently working to obtain an estimate for demolition.

“Once that is complete, we will be applying for funding,” he said.

Late last year, 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 site as unfit for human habitation. Inspectors found mold, bed begs, rats, needles, feces, and numerous fire code and safety violations on the premises. The sheriff’s office was also called to the complex hundreds of times last year.

The owners of the property, the Chetrit Group based in New York, sent an attorney to the hearing in January to ask the trustees for more time to find a resolution. After years of dealing with safety concerns, and with little to no communication from the owners, the trustees decided to move forward with legislation to remove the complex.

According to Jewell, the property has already been assessed nearly $166,000 by the township for trash removal. It will cost just over $32,000 for the township to install temporary fencing to secure the buildings. This cost will also be assessed to the property.

“The township does not own the property,” said Jewell. “We are securing the property and moving forward with the removal of the structures.”

Galloway Village Apartments were built in the 1960s. It has 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.

Jewell said there are estimated to be about 20 units that are still occupied.

The Franklin County Public Health Care Coordination team held several meetings in the township to provide support and resources to those still living in the apartment complex. The county commissioners allocated $1 million in funding to provide relocation assistance, transportation assistance, and health care to the residents of Galloway Village.

The county health department and the township will hold another information session for the remaining tenants at 6 p.m. March 7 at the Prairie Township offices, 23 Maple Drive.

“Tenants will hear from public health staff on how to access support for transitional housing services,” said Jewell.

For those who cannot attend, call Franklin County Public Health at 614-525-4802 for rehousing accommodations.

 

 

 

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