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Council discusses demolition projects

J.D. CharlesFor The Logan Banner

January 10, 2013

Proposed demolition projects and a reality television star were the primary topics of Tuesday evening’s Logan City Council on Jan. 8.


City Building Inspector Ray Perry updated the council on the FEMA demolition project in Wilson Camp and other demolition projects around town. Perry said the Wilson Camp project is basically ready and is only waiting funding from FEMA. The five pieces of property under question were evaluated at $305,000, but have yet to be purchased.


“We need to get that money from FEMA first,” Perry said. After the property is purchased five dilapidated structures can be torn down.


Ramshackle buildings around town and the county have been a problem for years, with many of them proving to be health and safety hazards, Perry noted.


In recent years the Logan County Commission and the City of Logan have been working on ways to address this issue. Perry said to date, 55 such locations were located in the city and 33 letters have been mailed out to identified property owners. Some 13 of those property owners have responded by contacting the city about the matter. Two of them had their structures torn down.


“Some of the responses were not positive,” Perry admitted, explaining that in some cases people bought the properties for ridiculously low prices only to find out later that it would cost more than they paid for them to have condemned structures on them removed.


“So far we have four and a half of those structures which have been torn down,” he added, saying, “In the next few weeks, we will be having some out of town property owners who will come in and take a look at the situation.”


Perry said the city needed to form a commission to deal with the proposed demolition. Following discussion, the council agreed to appoint Kathy Guy as a community representative to that board, which will also consist of city department heads and a representative from the Logan County Health Department.


“We hope that when the Wilson Camp demolition project is completed we can get started on the rest of them,” Perry said, and he told Councilman Ken Lee that it might be possible to remove some of the smaller residential structures first. “Some of the structures we are talking about are just rotting piles of lumber on a foundation… When we are done, there will be a lot of vacant property for development in the city.”


Mayor Serafino Nolletti said that out of state businessman Hari Dhiman had notified the city he would not be rebuilding the old Aracoma hotel after all, and that the property had been sold to an area businessman.


“He told us that he could not get a $3.5 million loan to build it back,” the mayor said.


The city recently had bids for three repairs on embankment failures and Asphalt Contractors was the winning bid, Nolletti announced.


“They are the same contractors working for the state and hopefully they will start on the embankment repairs by the end of February,” he added.


City Clerk Amber Miller Viars discussed the upcoming WV Association of Fairs and Festivals where Anna Butcher will represent Logan this weekend.


“We go every year,” she said, noting the event was “sort of like a shopping mall for organizers of festivals.” In addition to pageants the event offers organizers the opportunity to meet with public figures that make personal appearances, a fact which delighted members of the Logan Fire Department.


“Can you get Turtle Man this year?” asked Fire Chief Scotty Beckett, referring to a reality television star featured on an Animal Planet program.


Tickets for the pageant will be available at the door at the Municipal Auditorium. The pageant starts at 6 p.m.