Dealing with dilapidated buildings is among the biggest headaches faced by local officials. Sometimes, especially when absentee owners are involved, it is virtually impossible to proceed with decisive action.
Occasionally progress is made, however, as Martins Ferry Mayor Paul Riethmiller noted Monday.
Riethmiller explained the owner of a vacant, unsafe house went to mayor's court last Wednesday and paid a fine for not complying with city codes. He proceeded to reach an agreement with city officials to have the building torn down.
By Friday, the structure had been demolished. Though city funds were used for the work, they may be recouped once the property is sold.
Success in dealing with that building relied on several factors not always present in similar situations. First, of course, the owner was cooperative. Second, city officials had enough money available to pay for demolition. And third, it was possible - as it sometimes is in a small town - to cut through the red tape and get the work done quickly.
For each success on dilapidated buildings, local officials are stymied several times. But on this one, all involved are to be commended.