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Wheeling council approves funding to demolish building

Updated: Tuesday, December 3 2013, 09:30 PM EST

By Jon Rudder

WHEELING, W.Va - A crumbling building on Wheeling Island has been given the approval to be torn down. The structure has been expected to come down several months ago but that process has been postponed until now.

Back in July, Wheeling City Manager Bob Herron said that he expected the lot where the Gene Long Community Center stands to be vacant. While the plan has taken a little longer than expected to put together, on Tuesday, Wheeling City Council voted unanimously to approve money for the demolition of the center.

City Council originally wanted to get the building qualified for a community development block grant for demolition funding, but time and money were problems when exploring that option.

"We had to look at what would it take to rehabilitate it versus demolition, if it was rehabilitated would it be economically viable as a building," Herron said. "We just decided that we didn't think that it was necessary and those weren't funds we needed to expend."

Council is now planning on using local funds, totaling about $26,000, to bring the building down. Now that all obstacles have been overcome, the project can move forward.

"The delay has been going through the state historic preservation process but we were able to stop that, so there's no reason to delay the demolition any further," Herron said. "Fortunately city council did act on this, the building is deteriorating and hopefully demolition will begin here in the next couple weeks."

Heron said that with each passing day, having the building standing only becomes an increasing safety concern for residents in the area.

"The building has deteriorated significantly; we have the sidewalks blocked off around it. There are bricks falling on the sidewalk, there's glass falling out of the windows," Herron said. "So it is deteriorating quickly and we just need to get it down as soon as possible."

Herron said that before progress on actually tearing the building down can be made, asbestos needs to be removed from it. He was unsure exactly how long that would take but once it's completed demolition should only take a couple of weeks.

Wheeling council approves funding to demolish building

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