By Lee Murray
Liberty trustees approved a resolution that may finally rid Naylor-Lloyd Road of the abandoned Barkley Square apartments at essentially no cost to the township.
“We want to get rid of it,” Trustee Stan Nudell said Wednesday, “but we want to do it right where it’s not going to cost us anything.”
The apartments, formerly called Liberty Square Apartments, have been empty since 2006. Three of the four derelict buildings already have been torched by arsonists, but the remaining structure, gutted and clearly visible from the road, remains an eyesore.
The resolution will permit Trumbull County Land Bank to designate grant funds on the township’s behalf to remove the asbestos, enabling the Liberty Township Fire Department to remove the remaining structure by means of a controlled training burn. Officials say a controlled burn already has been approved by the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, pending the asbestos removal.
The grant program is part of a $75 million allocation from the Ohio Attorney General’s office to demolish vacant, abandoned and blighted properties in Ohio. Without the grant money, the demolition plans might not have been possible.
“The cost [to remove the asbestos] was incredible,” said Administrator Pat Ungaro. “$90,000 for one building, with demolition on top of that.” Ungaro added that the township could not afford to pay that up front. He added that traditional grant procedures require a percentage of funds to be provided up front to be matched by the donor, but this reimbursement program will pay for 100 percent of the asbestos removal.
A training burn will use in-house labor from the fire department to avoid the additional demolition costs. It is possible, too, that a portion of administrative and fire-department salaries also could be claimed in the grant monies, negating overtime expenses for the township and getting the job done without any detriment to the township’s bottom line.
Trustees already have received a preliminary bid for the asbestos removal work of around $85,000. If a contractor can be found who would wait until the township received the grant money, there would be no out-of-pocket expenses for the township.
It’s a little early in the process to discuss a time frame for the work to begin, said Ungaro. “This is new territory, so I don’t know that yet,” he added.
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