(Shaun Friedrichsen, Publisher)
The old neighborhood grocery store that stood on the corner of Eighth Street and G Street is gone now after it was demolished as part of the City of Fairbury’s nuisance abatement program on Wednesday.
Assistant Street Superintendent Laura Bedlan explained that the city chose to demolish this structure, as well as several others that will be razed over the course of the year, because it was deemed as a hazard to safety.
“The Board of Health recognizes nuisance properties, and they give that information to the Public Works Department,” said Bedlan. “After a certain amount of time, the Public Works Department gives notice to the property owner. They are given some time to remedy the nuisance. If they don’t, the Public Works Department will remedy it for them. That’s what these demos are.
“The intent of remedying nuisances is health, safety and welfare,” Bedlan continued. “That’s the most important thing. They recognize that these structures are unsafe to have in town, and that’s why they demolish them. We demolish structures because they have been proven to be unsafe.”
Bedlan noted that the structure demolished Wednesday was deemed unsafe because it had a collapsing foundation in several spots.
“The abatement company had to have waivers just to go in and get the asbestos out, because it was unsafe to actually go in the structure,” said Bedlan. “Things like that are an issue. That’s why we do condemnation is because they are a health, safety and welfare issue.”
Although the program is meant to remove unsafe structures from the community, it also has other effects, Bedlan explained.
“When it’s all said and done, these structures that are not safe are also bringing down property values in the neighborhood,” Bedlan said. “We expect that those properties being gone will help beautify the neighborhood.”
When property owners receive notice that their property is considered a nuisance, they are encouraged to try to remedy the issue or to contact the city officials to see what options are available. Bedlan stated that it is better for the property owners to try to make an effort to resolve the problem, because abatement is expensive.
The city has expanded its abatement program this year, especially since it was indicated as the number one project that people want to see the city tackle on the citizen satisfaction survey distributed earlier this year.
“We’ll be pretty busy with demo this year,” said Bedlan. “We have a couple priority ones that we’ll get done right away. The community made a lot of comments that they were concerned with the structures in town and that those needed to be demolished or taken care of in some manner. The satisfaction survey really made it clear that that was a concern of the citizens that these properties are unsafe. They wanted us to deal with it, so we are.”