Mount Hope seeks to demolish abandoned, historic school building

Local - 3/14/2013 6:49 PM by Rebecca Turco

MOUNT HOPE - The city of Mount Hope is using a federal grant to demolish blighted structures from the area, but officials said they face a holding pattern when it comes to buildings in the historic district, including a former school building.

Mount Hope Mayor Michael Martin explained the city is seeking to tear down the former school, which was damaged by a fire six years ago. "Blight is blight and if you've got an eyesore right in the middle of your community, the whole community looks a little worse for having the eyesore," he said.

But since it is a historic building, the city cannot move forward with the demolition - the State Historic Preservation Office to decide what action to take.

Martin said the city is choosing the demolition route because it would be too expensive to renovate the building. "The fact is, if you were going to put that building back in usable condition, you'd have to be sitting on $6 or $7 million and nobody is."

Resident Nettie Richardson said demolishing the building would improve the city. "They should tear it down. Tear the whole thing and build something else," she said. "Build something else right there, it's been there too long."

But since the property is privately owned, if the building is torn down, it is not the city's decision to replace it with another structure. "The answer, so far as the city is concerned right at the moment, is demolition," said Martin. "And then lets see in the future."

The grant would cover the cost of the demolition, but there are deadlines - one of which is this month - to use those funds. Martin said he is waiting to hear back from the State Historic Preservation Office about what can be done.


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