Benwood Acts On Falling Building

BENWOOD – Benwood City Council members Tuesday approved the emergency demolition of a duplex next door to the Benwood Firemen’s Club.

Members unanimously passed a resolution approving condemnation of the crumbling building at 709 and 711 Main St., and permitting emergency demolition work by Edgco Inc. of Lansing at a cost of $17,000. The building was condemned by city officials Friday, but City Attorney Eric Gordon said an after-the-fact approval by council was legally necessary. The resolution also permits city officials to place a lien against the owner of the dilapidated side of the duplex for the demolition costs.

Code enforcer Robert Kish said he attempted to contact the owner – a Canadian real estate firm – but has not yet been successful.

“As you notice, they are down there right now putting the mulch down getting ready to demo,” he said. “They did find asbestos – they’re down there tonight removing the asbestos that was in it so they can start the demo” today.

“Basically, it’s still lying against the firemen’s hall over against their building,” he added.

Kish said there appears to be no damage on the inside of the Benwood Firemen’s Club, but the full extent of harm won’t be known until the debris is removed from between the buildings. Much of the demolition will have to be done by hand because the structure is so unstable, he added.

Council also approved hiring a new police officer. Quinn Campbell of Bridgeport is a veteran of the Iraq war and will replace a previously hired officer who didn’t pass West Virginia State Police Academy training, Police Chief Frank Longwell said. He said Campbell worked six years in Alabama, and his training already meets West Virginia requirements. Campbell will only need to attend the police academy three weeks to obtain certification, according to Longwell.

The work to place stucco on the city building also is continuing, Mayor Ed Kuca said. The front of the building is being completed this fall, and next year there are plans to place stucco on the sides, he said.

“The work would have been completed already if it weren’t for the rain,” Kuca told council. “They are hoping for a break so they can complete it in the next couple of weeks.”