By jeanne starmack
The city is continuing to tear down abandoned houses, with two recently finished and a contract for seven more about to be awarded to a contractor.
But the demolitions are coming at a much higher price these days, cutting deeper into federal Neighborhood Stabilization Funds the city has available for them.
The money won’t stretch as far because the city must now follow stricter rules regarding the testing for and removal of asbestos.
The federal Environmental Protection Agency clarified those rules for Mahoning County late last year, Campbell administrator Jack Dill has said. Campbell, too, is affected by the change.
Mahoning County administers the demolition program and awards bid packages for it.
“We were tearing down houses for about $2,300 a piece,” Struthers Safety Services Director Ed Wildes told the city council at its caucus meeting Wednesday.
Now the cost for the next seven houses, out of about 20 that are left of the 70 Struthers submitted for demolition, will likely range from $500 to $17,000 just for asbestos removal. The total cost of asbestos removal for the seven houses is $53,385. Demolition costs for the houses total $35,000 and the total cost for all seven will be $88,385. Those figures are from Siegel Excavating, the apparent low bidder for the package.
The seven houses are 49 Riffle St., 154 McClure St., 39 McClure St., 59 Elm St., 141 Creed St., 112 E. Wilson Ave. and 53 Park Ave.
Campbell also has houses included in the bid package — six. They are 20 Palmer Ave., 141 Gordon St., 122 Twelfth St., 125 Coitsville Road, 138 Reed Ave. and 541 Whipple Ave.
Struthers had $500,000 allocated for demolitions and Campbell had $900,000 when the NSF program began in 2008. Funds that weren’t allocated for demolitions by last September were given to Youngstown so the county didn’t have to return them to the federal government.