Ledger Inquirer

Inquirer: House slated for demolition, but no telling when

An anonymous yet Concerned Reader is tired of living near a dilapidated, vacant, trashy house that's become a haven for the homeless.

You just can't please some people.

But seriously, she lives near 913 42nd St., which is about as ugly as property gets. It's been vacant for years, she said, unless you count the homeless people who live there off and on. And then there was the homeless person who died in the house a while back and was only discovered when someone walking by noticed the unmistakable smell of decomposition.

"You can still smell it," she said.

Nice. I didn't smell anything when I went by to take a photo, but I didn't get very close to the place, either. The yard is an overgrown and trash-strewn mess. The front door is wide open and the front porch is even more trash-strewn than the yard. The corrugated metal roof is rusting and curled up in places.

According to city tax records, it is appraised for $14,600, which is funny. I would put it at closer to $14.60. Really. The last time the property changed hands was in 2001 when someone bought it for $10, tax records show.

Anyway, my caller said she has called the city about the house several times. City inspectors (and one coroner) have come out and inspected it, but she said the city keeps giving the owner extensions to bring it up to code, and he keeps doing nothing.

Deputy City Manager David Arrington, who is acting as head of Inspections and Code, said the time for extensions is long over. An inspector went out in March, noted that no work had been done on it, so he ruled that it's time to put it on the demolition list.

But just because it's on the list doesn't mean it's coming down soon. There are legal procedures the city has to go through, then they have to figure out how much they have in the demolition account and how many that will take down. Then they prioritize the worst of the city's 147 condemned properties. (Yes, 147, and the number is sometimes higher than that, Arrington said.)

Arrington said Inspections and Code recently took a list of 20 properties to Columbus Council for approval for demolition, and he expects to bring another list to council in early 2015. Whether 913 42nd Street will be on that list, no one can tell as of now, he said.

Stay tuned.

Update

While we're on the subject of demolitions, I am glad to report that the long-standing eyesore at 4961 Gardiner Drive has finally been torn down. I first reported on that house in November 2012 and then again in March of 2013.

Finally, I wrote about it in September of this year, reporting that it had finally made it onto the demolition list.

This week I got a nice voicemail from a Gardiner Drive resident saying it has been totally demolished and hauled away.

Seen something that needs attention? Contact me at 706-571-8570 or mowen@ledger-enquirer.com.

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