City orders 2 homes to be demolished

By Joseph Slacian

Two more homes have been ordered to be demolished by the Wabash Board of Public Works and Safety.

The board, at its Thursday, Sept. 7 meeting, ordered a home owned by Jan Bailey, 20 W. Harrison, and Justin Brooks, 1326 Adams St., to be demolished.

The board, at its Aug. 3 meeting, gave Bailey 30 days to begin cleaning up her property so the home could be inspected by City Building Commissioner John Stephens.

However, Stephens told the board on Thursday, that no progress was made at the site.

“She was supposed to clear around the house enough so I could get to the house,” Stephens told the board. “I still can’t get to the house. There is one path that I could get to the front door. The front of the house is buckled. You could see the wall buckled. But other than that, I couldn’t get a look.”

The board also ordered Bailey to remove several cars from the property. They are still there, Stephens continued.

He did say that in a conversation with Bailey, she was going to have a contractor look at the site to let her know if it was cheaper to tear it down or fix the structure. He said he has yet to hear back from her.

Mayor Scott Long noted that Bailey did obtain an application for the city’s Owner Occupied Rehabilitation Project, part of the Stellar Grant program.

However, board member Todd Titus noted, the building isn’t owner occupied.

“I maintain the same position I did a month ago,” he continued. “This has gone on way too long and it’s got to come down. She hasn’t done anything in the last month. It’s not occupied by the owner, and $25,000 (the amount available through the Stellar program) is not going to fix it.”

Bailey, who was at the Aug. 3 meeting with her attorney, Mark Guenin, was not present Thursday.

As for the Brooks’ property, the board voted 2-0 to order it demolished. Board member Jim Reynolds abstained, noting that the problem with the building has been going on longer than he has been on the board.

“We’ve been round and around with this guy,” Titus said.

The city has been mowing the property most of the summer, and no improvements have been made at the site.

In another matter, two other property owners, Donnie and Peggy Fraley, 319 Euclid St., and Mike Galley, 1284 Willard Drive, had their cases before the building continued.

The Fraleys had their case continued from the Aug. 3 meeting, when they told the board that they were waiting to hear if their application for the Owner Occupied program was approved.

In the meantime, Mrs. Fraley told the board, the couple has someone working on the building’s foundation.

Long did tell the board that the couple’s application has been submitted for the program; however, the homes to receive grants have not been announced.

The board ordered the couple to continue working at the site, and will wait until it hears if they will be included in the program.

As for Galley, the board will have a formal hearing about the property at a future meeting.

Posted on 2017 Sep 12