Warren hopes to institute a better demolition plan

City administrators have targeted 20 structures for demolition.
WARREN -- City administrators are hoping that council members will pass legislation approving what they call an innovative new demolition plan.
The ordinance, which was placed in first reading at council's last meeting Wednesday, authorizes Mayor Michael J. O'Brien and Service-Safety Director William Douglas Franklin to enter into contracts for the demolition of 20 structures in the city.
The new demolition plan would require the contractors to do a specific number of demolitions in a specific amount of time, which has not been the case in previous city demolitions, Franklin said.
The only case in which the contractors would deviate from the prescribed schedule is if a fire damaged a home so severely that it needed to be torn down, Franklin said.
"If a structure is unsafe we want to expedite the process," he said.
20 homes
Warren administrators have targeted 20 homes across the city that they would like to begin demolishing as soon as possible, Franklin said.
The contractors would be under a performance bond that would require them to demolish their number of buildings in a set amount of time, Law Director Gregory Hicks said. The legislation doesn't specify a time frame, but it would be included in the demolition contract.
"Before we allowed contractors to demolish more or less 50 homes in a year," he said. "Now we're saying that they're going to have a specific amount of time to do 20."
The legislation was originally slated to be passed by council at Wednesday's meeting, but Councilwoman Helen Rucker, D-at-large, who was unable to be at the meeting, asked that the item be placed in first reading.
Council's next meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 8.
In place elsewhere
The new demolition plan is similar to those already in place in Youngstown and Niles, and O'Brien said he would like to implement the same plan for all future demolitions.
The city has a contract with Richard Boccia Construction to demolish structures on an as-needed basis.
Councilman Alford L. Novak said that the new demolition plan would be good for Warren residents.
"It's a safety issue," he said. "Some of these houses are being ignored, and they're going to collapse on somebody if nothing is done about them."

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