City tears down two houses

PARKERSBURG – Two St. Marys Avenue houses targeted by the city for eventual demolition were razed Thursday due to emergency conditions.

The house at 1340 St. Marys Ave. was found to be sliding toward the street, while next door, a tree that fell onto 1342 St. Marys Ave. during a July windstorm had started to sink further into that house, Mayor Bob Newell said.

City code director Gary Moss said the house at 1340 had moved 24 inches off its foundation over the last two weeks and was in danger of sliding down the hill and into the road.

“It actually got a twist to it,” he said. “That’s why we just went ahead and took care of both of those without anybody getting hurt.”

Those houses, along with the one at 1338 St. Marys Ave., were on the agenda for the Aug. 19 meeting of the Parkersburg Urban Renewal Authority to consider taking them by eminent domain.

The item was tabled because city officials needed more time to research who owned the structures before taking any action, Moss said.

But it became apparent this week they could not wait any longer, Newell said.

“It cost $28,000 to take both of them down,” the mayor said.

Part of the cost was a result of the houses having asbestos in them, meaning the debris must be taken to a specific landfill in Ohio, he said. Empire Builders did the demolition work.

No conditions existed to justify tearing down 1338 St. Marys Ave. in an emergency, so the city will have to pursue it later, Newell said.

“It would have been nice to get three of them at one time,” he said.

Both 1338 and 1340 St. Marys Ave. were on the initial list of houses Newell proposed tearing down in April as part of a large-scale offensive against slum and blight.

The tree that toppled onto the second story at 1342 in July had remained over the last month-and-a-half. Recently, it sank four feet lower, prompting the decision to take it down as well, Newell said.