POINT PLEASANT — Though demolition equipment has shown up at the site of a much talked about and much dilapidated building in the 300-block of Main Street, that equipment hadn’t moved as of Monday afternoon - hopefully, that is about to change.
The equipment apparently belongs to contractors employed by the building’s owner. Officials with the City of Point Pleasant have been working on finding a remedy to the hazard posed by the building since May and with the Point Pleasant Sternwheel Regatta set to begin on Thursday, that urgency has not dissipated.
“Nobody is more frustrated with this than city officials,” City Attorney R.F. Stein, Jr. said on Monday, citing working on the solution since Memorial Day Weekend when the blocks started to fall from the building and a section of Main Street was closed.
Stein added there had been very few days between Memorial Day Weekend and now that he and other city officials weren’t trying to solve this problem, in fact, Stein said finding a solution consumed most of his Monday. It was Stein’s understanding Monday was to be the day construction crews were to apply for a permit to tear down the building - this permit was to be approved by City Inspector Jeremy Bryant. However, Stein said as of 1 p.m., no one had showed to apply for the permit.
As the afternoon progressed, Stein was able to find out the hold up had to do with waiting on paperwork from a state agency in relation to the presence or non presence of asbestos in the building. Stein said he was told this paperwork was approved and the contractor was “good to go” as soon as they received said paperwork which had apparently already been sent out but had yet to be received.
There’s still no word on if the paperwork will arrive in time to start demolition prior to the Regatta.
What is known is the deed to the property had been recorded on Friday, June 22 and it was deeded to CMU Properties, LLC - Stein said it was his understanding Craig Allman was the principal of this company. There has been some confusion as to whose responsibility it was to tear down the property. When the saga began, it belonged to Alvie Whittington of Alabama and eventually was in the process of being transferred to Allman of the Parkersburg area. This transfer, in the midst of the building falling down, has slowed the demolition process or at least added a unique twist. That said, now with the deed having been recorded, the equipment on site and the proper state agency giving the contractors the go ahead, there should be no more obstructions to the goal of bringing the building down. As Stein put it, the city is doing everything to make sure the contractors have an “unobstructed path to demolition.”
Again, the big question remains just “when” that demolition will occur with three choices to consider at this point - before, during or after the Regatta. City officials are obviously hoping for “before” the Regatta which begins on Thursday when County Music Star Kip Moore gives a free concert at 8 p.m. at the Riverfront Park.
In addition to the public safety hazard, the building has also disrupted businesses and traffic along parts of Main Street.