MANCHESTER, Ohio – Buildings that burned in December may be getting demolished soon, according to the Manchester Village Council.
Two buildings on Second Street in Manchester may be getting cleaned up by the village soon.
“Original bids [for cleanup] came in at $40,000,” said Manchester Mayor Robert Hilberdrand. “We said we didn’t have that money and the county didn’t either, so we talked with the guys and since we are going to put the block on riverfront property and cover it with dirt it lowered a bit.”
According to Hilderbrand, the price for cleanup of the destroyed buildings will be $30,000.
“The county has earmarked $15,000 for this project,” Hildrebrand said. “They need a commitment from this council for the other $15,000 to move forward with this project.”
The buildings burned in December after a fire started in an apartment underneath a stairway.
“It just moved up inside the building and flashed over the top. It traveled over into the next building and we put a stop to it before it got into the pool hall,” said Manchester Village Assistant Fire Chief Lonnie Bilyeu at the time of the fire.
Five families were living in apartments in the nearly 100 year old building. Only minor injuries were reported at the time of the fire.
Hilderbrand said that the property would come into the possession of the village if the deal is finalized. He also said the owners of the buildings have agreed to give the property to the village.
“It’s the owners’ responsibility to maintain the property but it’s also the responsibility of the village to make sure no one gets hurt,” said Village Solicitor Thomas L. Mayes. “It’s a difficult spot.”
Mayes said that another problem is that the lots are in the flood plain.
“You can’t really build in those spots anymore,” Mayes said. “It’s just going to stay vacant forever because the cost of building in the flood plain is just astronomical. That’s why it’s a travesty when one of these buildings falls because you’re not going to be able to replace them.”
Mayes said that a few other villages that have been in similar situations have built farmer’s markets on the lots instead of leaving them vacant.
The council approved a motion to promise $15,000 toward the demolition and cleanup of the buildings. Adams County government will be in charge of the contracting for the project.
“If we don’t do something we could be stuck with the whole bill because the state highway department said we are responsible,” Hilderbrand said.