City to demolish 3 houses on Central Avenue


Two blighted houses on Central Avenue will be demolished next month, city officials said at a Delaware City Council meeting Monday.

That decision will make one young Delaware resident happy.

“They plan on tearing these houses down in the next month or so,” said City Manager Tom Homan. “The building official is working with local contractors and getting pricing. Once they get pricing, and go out to bid, they will be taken down. We’ll probably plant grass there, for now. Eventually, the property will be used to straighten out the intersection.”

The blighted properties were brought up during the public comment portion of council’s meeting when Molly Hobbs, a second-grader at nearby Conger Elementary School, read a letter about “three different homes that are disgusting” and “look like gardens that never get groomed.” The young writer wants the homes to be taken down.

A search on the county auditor’s website indicates all three addresses mentioned by Molly Hobbs are owned by the city on two parcels of land.

The letter was originally sent to The Gazette a few weeks ago, but not published. Molly’s grandfather, James Harter, was critical of The Gazette for not publishing her letter.

Council approved funding last year when the opportunity arose to purchase the two parcels of property the homes sit on at 258 and 273 East Central Avenue.

“The properties have become dilapidated and must be taken down,” stated the ordinance on Sept. 28, 2015. “The owners of the two properties have reached a voluntary, arms-length agreement to sell the properties to the city using the (county) auditor’s appraisal of the properties as the basis for negotiations.”

“The properties being purchased have been identified as being needed to realign the intersection at Central and Channing,” states the council fact sheet from last September. “In addition, the properties have deteriorated to the point where the building department believes that they are a hazard and should be demolished. These purchases allow the city to ensure the safety of the neighborhood now and allow the city to realign the intersection in the future.”

As part of the city’s East Central Avenue reconstruction project, turn lanes and through-lanes would be added at the Channing Street intersection.

Drivers and residents may have noticed that Channing Street was closed from Central Avenue to Oak Street much of the day Tuesday. That’s because Columbia Gas was performing service line work at the Central-Channing intersection.

Also at Monday’s meeting, council approved a liquor permit application for change at the Corner Cafe Restaurant, 535 Sunbury Road. The change was needed because owner Dimitrios Velalis died last year, and his wife, Theoplasti Velalis, is now running the business.

By Gary Budzak

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Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

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