City Officials Add 20 To List Of Condemned Houses For Demolition

Around 20 condemned houses have been approved for demolition in the city.

On Monday, Vince DeJoy, city development director, spoke to members of City Council’s Housing Committee about a list of around 20 houses that have been approved by the Chautauqua County Land Bank Corporation for demolition. Earlier this month, City Council approved a resolution authorizing Mayor Sam Teresi to enter into a $500,000 grant agreement with the Chautauqua County Land Bank Corporation for the demolition of approximately 40 vacant, substandard or abandoned properties in conjunction with a $1.506 million grant from the state Office of the Attorney General.

DeJoy said the average costs of a demolition is around $25,000. He said at times it is less, but it depends on how much cleanup is needed with lead and asbestos testing. DeJoy said the city is receiving $12,500 from the county land bank for each condemned house that is demolished. The city is paying the other half of the demolition cost with federal Community Development Grant Block money. City officials have planned to allocate $160,000 of the $1,054,609 in federal block grant money toward neighborhood target area demolitions. This money will be used to proved demolitions to housing units in low-to-moderate-income areas that threaten public health and safety.

DeJoy said the list is not in order of priority. However, he said houses on Institute and First streets have priority because they are near Jamestown High School, which could be a safety issue because of the high number of students in the area. He said some of the houses on the list also don’t have a court order yet for demolition.

”We’re working on that with the code officer,” DeJoy said about the demolition order.

Other streets with houses on the list include Allen, Crossman, Liberty, North Main, Spring, Thayer Tower, Water, Westcott, West 15th, West 16th, Willard, Weeks and Steele.

In a typical year, DeJoy said they might tear down around 10 houses. He said the list of 20 is a lot for the city to handle in a year.

”This is a pretty aggressive plan,” said Marie Carrubba, Ward 4 councilwoman, during the City Council work session meeting that followed the Housing Committee meeting. Carrubba is the chairwoman of City Council’s Housing Committee.