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Smyrna/Clayton Sun-Times
  • Town of Smyrna continues to deal with vacant buildings

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  • The Town of Smyrna has been pretty busy over the past few years dealing with vacant buildings and properties facing code enforcement violations. Whether it's demolishing a dangerous building or renovating an old property, Smyrna officials have worked hard to improve upon the appearances of the town.
    Recently Smyrna's Manager of Building & Inspections Grant Prichard put together a booklet as a refresher as to what non-residential properties and homes have been addressed as well as the projects still in the works.
    Town Manager Dave Hugg said the town has spent a lot of time over the past five to 10 years dealing with potentially hazardous buildings. While some residents may feel the town isn't doing enough work to address vacant and rundown buildings, Hugg said the number of buildings that still need to be addressed has dwindled.
    "It's an ongoing project on the part of the town," Hugg said.
    Prichard said when people do complain about vacant buildings in town, he'll ask the person to be specific because in some cases the town or a company is addressing the building. In some cases, Prichard said a property may escape his attention.
    "Sometimes you wouldn't know a property has been vacant for three years," Hugg said. "Sometimes the front will look fine but the back will be a mess so unless someone says something we don't always know."
    Prichard said there are times a person is so used to seeing a derelict building in town, after a while they don't notice the property. However, the same can be said for properties that have been addressed. Hugg said in some cases a building has been fixed up for so long, it can be hard to remember how poorly the property previously looked.
    There have been several properties over the years Smyrna officials have dealt with from non-residential properties to residential homes. In some cases the town has bought a property and demolished it. In other cases, dealing with vacant homes can take years, Hugg said, because the estate involves several family members.
    Prichard said some buildings have been vacant for years and the longer a property is vacant, the higher a fee for the property owner. Prichard said a fee for a property vacant from one to two years is $500, a building vacant from two to five years is $1,000, and a property vacant for five-plus years is $2,000. The vacant building fees contributed to the Wally's property owner's decision to renovate.
    "The property owner decided to do something to make the building beautiful," Prichard said. "It's not an active business but they're still looking."
    As for residential properties, Hugg and Prichard said the home at 19 S. Union St. is the poster child for what can be done with a home. The property was sold and demolished related to enforcement issues. A new house was constructed to fit within the historic context of the neighborhood.
    Page 2 of 2 - "It looks like a well maintained, old house," Prichard said.
    So when residents do urge the town to deal with the dilapidated buildings in town, Hugg said the town has the proof that work is being done.
    "They need to look at what's already been done," Hugg said. "We've done a tremendous amount of work."
    Non-residential Properties Addressed
    • 221 S. DuPont Blvd. – taken down to foundation, new building constructed
    • 5838 S. DuPont Pkwy. (Bob-s Market) – demolished, replaced with a new business
    • 244 S. DuPont Pkwy. (Wally's) – taken down to foundation, new building constructed
    • N. DuPont Blvd. (7-Eleven) – renovated and occupied
    • 35 N. Main St. – renovated and occupied
    • 25 W. Commerce St. (Sun-Times) – damaged by fire, renovated and occupied
    • 62 W. Commerce St. – renovated and occupied
    • 28 W. Commerce St. – vacant with code enforcement issues, renovated and occupied
    • 10 S. Main St. – vacant, property maintenance violations, renovated and occupied
    • Grain Towers on Glenwood Avenue – sold and demolished
    • Shammy Shine Car Wash on North DuPont Blvd. – sold and demolished
    • 404 Smyrna-Clayton Blvd. – demolished
    Residential Properties Addressed
    • 16 W. Frazier St. – vacant, renovated
    • 130 Lincoln St. – renovated and occupied
    • 19 S. Union St. – sold, demolished, and new house constructed
    • 22 S. Union St. – renovated
    • 149 S. East St. – demolished
    • 218 Mulberry St. – demolished
    • 151-157 S. Main St. – demolished
    • 199 S. Main St. – demolished, division of property and new construction
    • 24 E. South St. – demolished
    • 27-29 E. North St. – demolished
    • 129 S. East St. – developer purchased property and demolished
    • 26 S. Delaware St. – town purchased and demolished
    • 229 N. Main St. – demolished and new building constructed
    • 326 W. Commerce St. – demolished
    • 211 & 213 E. Commerce St. – demolished
    • 316 W. Commerce St. – demolished by owner
    Email Jennifer Dailey at jennifer.dailey@doverpost.com.
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