Niles Twp. targets buildings for demo

Published 12:05 am Thursday, January 20, 2011

Niles Township is seeking a demolition order for this run-down mobile home located in a trailer park at 1003 Ontario Rd. It is one of four blighted buildings on the township’s radar.

The Niles Township Board is hoping to clean things up around town. Four blighted buildings are being targeted for possible demolition.

The board voted at Tuesday’s meeting to allow township attorney Mary Spiegel to pursue a demolition order for a dilapidated trailer in a trailer park at 1003 Ontario Rd. The board also agreed to allow her to work to get compliance from property owners of three other blighted buildings without legal action.

Spiegel called the 1003 Ontario building the most “egregious” but the buildings at 635 Clark St., 3030 South Third St. and 1017 Edward St. are nowhere near being up to code either.

It could cost the township about $3,600 in legal fees just to get to the point of demolition of the Ontario Road property, Spiegel said. After the property is demolished, the township could put a lien on the property.

If the property is purchased, the township could recoup some of the money spent to remove it.

“An empty lot has a lot more value,” Spiegel said, adding there is no guarantee the property won’t “sit out there for 20 years.”

Board Treasurer Jim Ringler agreed that the township needs to begin to do something about blighted properties.

“When you allow blighted properties, it encourages more of them,” he said.

Trustee Gary Conover suggested looking into a live burning exercise for local fire departments to remove some of the properties, which could be a less expensive option.

Township Supervisor Jim Kidwell said the township budgeted $12,000 for demolitions this year.

Kidwell also updated the board that another dilapidated property, the Eastgate Shopping Center, is in the process of being cleaned out. The demolition company will begin tearing down walls by the end of the month.