PT readies for wrecking ball

Franklin County and Prairie Township continue to take action toward the eventual destruction of vacant properties located on Stiles and Mix Avenues.

The three apartment buildings, acquired by Franklin County Commissioners in July as part of Franklin County’s “land-bank” program, were tested for asbestos the week of Nov. 19.

According to Prairie Township Administrator Tracy Hatmaker, the first step in the process is to establish whether there is any asbestos in the building or not. After the results are collected and analyzed, the township hopes to compile a package requesting bids from contractors for demolition.

“We’re doing everything in our power to have those (buildings) down by the end of the year,” said Chairman Steve Kennedy.

According to Hatmaker, the township is currently on the verge of finding someone to prepare a bid packet.

“I’ve had a very difficult time finding someone to actually prepare a bid packet,” he said. “Once we find someone, we’ll be off and running as soon as these results from the tests are back.”

The adjacent properties located at 4619 Stiles Ave., 329 and 299 Mix Ave., have been in and out of environmental court for years due to health and structure-related issues.

For these reasons, both Franklin County and Prairie Township are pushing for demolition before the onset of winter to prevent vagrants and animals from housing in the properties, as well as to prevent any further health hazards.

Another project Prairie Township hopes to finish by the end of the year or early next year is installing street lights in some area neighborhoods.

The first phase of the project, which includes the area of Young Estates, began in September of 2006 and was recently completed. In October, the board voted to expand the project to West Point.

The contracted company in charge of installing the street lights, AEP, is currently working on obtaining right-of-ways to move forward with phase two of the project.

“The easements were easier to acquire in Young Estates because the lots were bigger,” said Kennedy, speaking to the reason for delay in installation.

“They wanted to do the easy ones first and get to the more complicated ones later.”

Kennedy also pointed out that there were half as many street lights installed in Young Estates as there are anticipated in West Point.

Hatmaker assured residents, “After a start that makes geological plate tectonics look easy, they really are making some progress.”

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