City OKs asbestos abatement before demolitionPublished 9:28pm Friday, February 15, 2013
The former Beaufort County Health Department building on North Harvey Street in Washington is a step closer to be demolished.
During its meeting Monday, Washington’s City Council approved paying $27,000 to NEO Corp. to perform asbestos abatement of the building. Once that’s completed, the building will be demolished and the vacant property will become part of the Jack’s Creek greenway.
“This project’s been going on for awhile. This is a FEMA grant project. We were required to remove the asbestos from the facility,” City Manager Josh Kay told the council. “The demolition costs are under $10,000. So, staff has been able to manage that, but the removal of the asbestos … we received three bids, with the low bid being $27,000. We currently have $185,000 budgeted. Again, this is a grant process and we received the majority of this money back from FEMA.”
Last year, the project — property acquisition, asbestos abatement and demolition — was budgeted at $185,021. The grant, accepted by the city last year, provides $138,766 (75 percent of project cost), with the city providing $46,255 (the remaining 25 percent of the project cost).
The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved the 2010 grant request. The property is in a flood-prone area and suffers from repetitive damage because of flooding. When possible, FEMA prefers to spend money on acquiring such properties and having them demolished instead of paying repeated claims for flood-related damage.
The city bought the property several years ago for $68,000.
The building sat vacant for a few years, until a nonprofit organization acquired it from Beaufort County in hopes of restoring it for a youth center. The nonprofit was unable to meet North Carolina Building Code standards, as costs related to repairing storm damage exceeded its construction budget. The organization never obtained a certificate of occupancy for the building. In 2009, the structure was reacquired by the city and has remained unoccupied since it flooded in 1999, according to a city document.
The greenway is a linear park system along Jack’s Creek from just south of the Bobby Andrews Recreation Center on East Seventh Street to the Pamlico River.