LORAIN – Contractors this week began another round of demolition to knock down vacant houses in Lorain.
Lorain officials said they are continuing on an “aggressive” plan to tear down blighted structures.
The city must adapt as Lorain’s population declines, leaving vacant houses that deteriorate, said Rey Carrion, acting director of Lorain’s Community Development Department.
We just do not have the bodies to occupy those properties, Carrion said.
The run-down houses hurt the value of neighboring properties and can become havens for drug-dealing or vermin, and targets for arson, he said. Earlier this year Lorain fire officials said fires in vacant houses are a problem in Lorain.
In the summer, city officials approved contracts for four demolition companies to take down the houses.
Cherokee Demolition was awarded a contract for $216,125 to demolish 20 houses.
This week, Cherokee Demolition started tearing down 904 Oberlin Ave. and 3824 Toledo Ave., company owner Dave Nemec said. He is scheduled to demolish 902 W. 20th St. this morning, according to city records.
Meanwhile, T.G. Eschtruth Inc., of Lorain, this morning is scheduled to demolish 739 W. Ninth St., a house that caught fire in March 2010.
The Lorain Fire Department classified the fire as suspicious, according to city records. The house was listed as vacant at the time and apparently has been unoccupied since then.
Law, building, health departments and fire officials also used search warrants this month to inspect 20 houses that will be considered for demolition.
The city’s housing board of appeals will consider whether the properties are public health nuisances, Carrion said.
If they are ruled nuisances, the owners are given notice and if there is no response to fix up the properties, the city will seek bids for demolition, Carrion said.
In the search warrant process, the most recent round of 20 houses to be inspected were:
- 300 Delaware Ave.
- 447 Delaware Ave.
- 215 Connecticut Ave.
- 2723 Randall St.
- 2920 and 2922 Cromwell Drive
- 3043 and 3045 Cromwell Drive
- 801-807 North Central
- 500 W. 25th St.
- 2515 Lexington Ave.
- 912-914 E. 32nd St.
- 815 E. 35th St.
- 1001 E. 33rd St.
- 918 E. 33rd St.
- 222 E. 30th St.
- 219 E. 29th St.
- 218 E. 29th St.
- 906 E. 32nd St.
- 124 W. 23rd St.
- 623 W. 23rd St.
- 2813 Lexington Ave.
The searches marked the second time the city departments went to Lorain Municipal Court to ask for legal permits to enter vacant properties for inspection.
In the first round of search warrants from August, 22 of 26 properties were declared public nuisances and are in process to be demolished, according to city records. There were four homes in which the owners provided a redevelopment plan and the Lorain housing appeals board allowed them time to repair the structures.
After that first round of 26, city staff identified another 200 homes that may qualify for demolition, Carrion said.
The city departments hope to use 20 search warrants every other week – or possibly every week – to inspect more houses and begin the legal process to tear them down, Carrion said.
It’s an aggressive plan, but we’re on our way, we’re on our way, Carrion said.