- Paris Flash
- Real Estate
This is the old Paris Police Department building on Bonham Street and West Eighth St. after city crews cut down some trees and spruced up others prior to a citywide bus tour by the new city council following last year’s elections. (eParisExtra! photo by Charles Richards)
BY CHARLES RICHARDS
The City of Paris is one step closer to getting the blighted, long-vacant, and long-neglected Cherry Street Manor at 22nd Street and East Cherry Street torn down.
“Apparently, a federal judge has lifted a stay that prevented the city from even going onto the property,” Dr. AJ Hashmi said Sunday.
“You’ll remember that when I became mayor (in June of 2011), we sent a letter saying this is a hazardous building and you need to take the stay off,” Hashmi said.
The federal government has indicated it is not interested in doing anything with the property, Hashmi said.
Police have said the former apartment complex is a site that officers have to patrol on a regular basis because over the years it has become a scene of occasional to frequent illegal activity.
“We will have to tear it down ourselves, but I don’t want to even get started on that until we get our own asbestos abatement crew and our own demolition crew in place so that we are not spending half a million dollars to do it,” the mayor said Sunday.
At tonight’s meeting of the Paris City Council, one item on the agenda is a report by finance director (and former interim city manager) Gene Anderson, whom Hashmi asked to research what it would cost the City of Paris to have its own crews certified to remove asbestos.
Then, the mayor says, the city could put in place its own crews, qualified to abate asbestos problems and to tear down dilapidated structures at a significant cost savings.
In the agenda packet that each council member received in advance of tonight’s city council meeting, is Anderson’s estimate on what it would cost the city to develop its own abatement crew.
“Based on discussions with the state, the City would need all four types of licenses if we wanted to perform a project from start to finish, at a cost of:
Those costs total $7,553, assuming only one person in each of the four categories were trained and certified.
“Those costs estimates cover license fees, physical exams, tuition fees, mileage, hotel costs, and meal expenses,” Anderson says.
“Development of such a program could require additional workers and equipment,” Anderson says. “Those issues have not been evaluated. … If the council wishes to pursue this idea, further study and planning could be made during the budget process.”
Anderson said asbestos abatement is required only for “public buildings,” as defined in the Texas Administrative Code. That definition covers all buildings that are subject to public occupancy or to which the general public has access.
Demolition of a residential structure does not trigger the asbestos regulations, Anderson noted.
It has become a time-consuming and expensive project to have large dilapidated structures taken down because of the requirement that any asbestos problem be abated first. That’s a process the city is not presently certified to do.
Two such projects in the last four years:
After years of the saying it would just cost too much to take care of, both blighted complexes were removed at a combined cost to the city of more than a million dollars. The delay was largely because the city didn’t have the personnel or experience to itself abate the asbestos problem.
Now, the city has a similar problem with Cherry Street Manor and with the old police building at West Eighth Street and Bonham Road, which has exposed asbestos because of the copper that has been ripped out of interior walls since the building was vacated in April of 2006.
The city council was looking at renovating the old police building as a possible new home for the city/county health department, but discovered that because of the asbestos problem, it would be almost as expensive as building a brand new building.
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