Depending on the type of demolition, sometimes local companies are used and sometimes regional businesses do the work of tearing down a condemned house.
The city of Jamestown is planning to demolish around 25 houses this year. If the demolition site is clean, some local companies can do the job, said Vince DeJoy, city development director. However, if the site is not clean and contaminants like asbestos are found, city officials then have to look regionally to find a company certified to do the destruction.
''Currently, no local companies can do a controlled demolition,'' DeJoy said. ''We are working with a local company. They are working their way to do the controlled demolitions when there is asbestos. They hope to be certified by the end of the year.''
A house being demolished by Kingsview Demolition next to the North Main Street Church of God in Jamestown last spring.
P-J file photo by Dennis Phillips
DeJoy said whenever the city has a house ready to be demolished the work goes out to bid. Whoever has the best bid gets the contract. He said the demolishing cost depends on how much work has to be done in tearing down the condemned structure.
''It is a pretty big range. It depends on how big the house is. Is it contaminated? It is not just the costs for the demolition materials to go to the landfill,'' he said. ''It can range from $10,000 to $50,000 for an average two-story house.''
DeJoy said city officials work to have the cost of the demolishing paid for by the last known property owner. However, he said the money usually is not recouped.
''We make every attempt. We have an attorney who specializes in recoveries for these types of expenses,'' he said. ''We make our best effort, and sometimes we get lucky and are able to recover the costs. I'm instituting a more aggressive approach because it is a great burden for the property taxpayer. I don't think it is fair for someone to walk away from the property and stick the bill on the taxpayers of Jamestown.''
DeJoy said the condition of the condemned house will determine which ones go first.
''The ones that get knocked down first are the ones that are in eminent danger of collapsing. It is a danger to surrounding structures, and is deteriorated in such condition it needs to come down because it is dangerous,'' he said. ''Those that are structurally unsound are the next highest priority. Those vacant and abandoned structures with windows knocked out in a nice stable area is a high priority.''
Cold weather isn't a problem when it comes to demolishing a condemned house. In fact, DeJoy said businesses prefer that type of work during the winter months.
''We do them all year round. Weather may enhance the need because of snow on a roof with a structure that is not sound. If we feel that it just can't survive any longer, we will come and do an emergency demolition,'' he said. ''This is a good time of the year, too. Because the people who do the demolition work do other types of projects. So this time of the year, they don't have outdoor projects like concrete and construction projects. They welcome this type of work this time of year.''