10/31/06 — Money is slowing demolition progress

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Money is slowing demolition progress

By Kenneth Fine
Published in News on October 31, 2006 1:46 PM

There is a box inside the Goldsboro Inspections Department. It's filled with case files on properties slated for official condemnation and demolition orders from City Council members.

Some have been in that box for years. Others made the stack mere days or weeks ago.

But Chief Building Inspector Ed Cianfarra said no matter how long a particular property has been slated for official condemnation and demolition orders, the reason behind the wait is the same across the board -- lack of sufficient funds to knock them all down.

"We just don't have the money," he said.

When a property comes before the council and members approve condemnation and demolition recommendations, the cost per house ranges from $8,000 to $14,000, Cianfarra added, and currently, there are 135 houses in one of the three phases of minimum housing.

"It's really an expensive proposition," he said.

But last week, Cianfarra brought a plan to council members, one he said will help speed up the condemnation process -- and protect those who might unknowingly rent the unstable structures.

"We're in the process right now, we have a list of 38 houses that in the next several months will be coming before the City Council," he said. "We will be looking into the possibility of trying to see if General Services can do some of them to save money on bidding out the demolition."

And eliminating the bidding process would alleviate the majority of the cost associated with official condemnation and demolition orders, he added.

"We can assign (some of the demolition work) to a city crew and get that on their regular work schedule," Cianfarra said. "That way, we're saving the taxpayers money. We can save money on demolition."

And the help of city crews -- along with the regular work of the contractor -- also would help the city catch up with inspectors, he added.

"Do we have enough houses to keep both of those crews busy for longtime? Yes we do," Cianfarra said.

And once the dilapidated houses are gone, real change in aging neighborhoods can occur, he said.

"Demolition and removal of substandard dwellings is not cleaning up to me," Cinafarra said. "It's giving the people who live there a safer and more attractive neighborhood. To clean the city up -- to make it look better -- we have to put things back on those properties."

City Council members have not yet made a decision on the proposition. Still, Cianfarra said he feels confident the council will help if they can.

"The council seemed to be very receptive," he said.