It’s about time

Published 10:02 pm Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It took some time, but the City of Washington is moving ahead with the demolition of a deteriorated house in the city’s historic district.
Some people will decry the demolition of the house, saying it should have been saved. But what do you do when efforts to save a continuously deteriorating house fail? There comes a point an eyesore must be removed so it doesn’t negatively affect the values of nearby properties and pose a hazard.
Last month, the City Council approved a $14,700 contract to demolish the house at 507 W. Second St. That decision came after the city tried not once, but twice, to sell the house to an entity that would restore it.
In early 2011, in an effort to save the house, the City Council voted to sell that house to Reilly Software for $3,500. Reilly Software intended to restore and renovate the house. Then, the dismal economy caught up with the company. Because Reilly Software could not afford to buy the house, the city was forced to once again seek a buyer for the house by way of the upset bid process. That did not work out, either.
Several years ago, the city adopted an ordinance designed to prevent property owners, particularly owners of significant historic properties, from allowing their properties to essentially be demolished by neglect. Adopting the ordinance was a good move by the city. Implementing it, as it’s now doing with the demolition of the house on West Second Street, is a better move.
“I think it’s important for property owners to maintain their property,” Mayor Pro Tempore Bobby Roberson said in March 2011 when talking about this issue.
It’s also important for the city to continue to try to prevent demolition by neglect. Doing so protects the city, its residents and properties around a neglected structure.