By CATHY MOUNCE, Register Staff Writer
Over 700 commercial and residential buildings have code violations as detailed by Gainesville Community Services Director John Noblitt at Wednesday Lion’s Club meeting in Gainesville.
“We are beginning to see the impact of our ‘Volunteer Demolition Program’ as we work to clean up our city,” Noblitt said.
During the past year over 20 structures have been taken down with 20 more on the list and 13 pending demolition.
Noblitt said that if a building is not safe the owners have two choices. They can demolish the buildings themselves if they choose not to make needed renovations or they can let the city do it after an abatement agreement release is signed.
Noblitt said that as the city is tearing down some of the its most dilapidated structures, new buildings are also being planned.
“For example the demolition of the old Lindsay Elementary school will be replaced by eight new single family homes,” Noblitt said. He noted the former Gainesville Memorial Hospital building on O’Neal Street is another structure facing possible demolition.
“The owners have 30 days to produce a $1.5 million surety bond,” Noblitt said. “That’s our estimated cost to demolish and remove the structure. If they do not want to provide the surety bond pending development then through process the city will be able to put the building on the docket for demolition.”
Noblitt spoke of a salvage agreement the city has with Sweetie Pies Restaurant chain.
“The owners grew up in the area and have a salvage agreement with the city,” he said. “ They have saved us money by coming in and hauling off useable lumber and items for their restaurants.”
Noblitt explained that when only demolition is involved in a project, little federal funding is received. However if there is another criteria in the demolition such as hazardous mitigation or natural disaster, then funding is possible through the Stafford grant program.
“Gainesville is booming and we are positioning ourselves for a prosperous growth,” Noblitt said. “We anticipate between 30 and 50 new homes built per year so it is important to attack the eyesores in our community to make Gainesville attractive to other interests.”
Other Lion’s Club business includes the third annual charity golf tournament on July 20 at the Gainesville Golf Course Hwy. 82. The costs are $65 per person or $130 for a two person team. Contact (940) 668-4560 for further information.