The Charlestown Board of Public Works met on Monday, December 18, 2017. At this meeting the topic of vacant, boarded up houses in Pleasant Ridge was raised during public comment. Specifically, the Board was asked:
Is the Board in the process of drafting a request to have Pleasant Ridge Redevelopment, LLC raze and remove the vacant houses (per an agreement reached between the City and PRR on November 7, 2017)?
If not, what steps can be taken to initiate this process and hold PRR accountable for the responsibilities outlined in the letter (from John Hampton to Tony Jackson, dated October 24, 2016)?
A recording of the meeting can be found here:
This issue is a tough one. Mayor Hall has noted several times that removing the structures is “a process.” Certainly we cannot expect the homes to come down the day after renters move away.
These structures, however, have been standing in deplorable condition since the first wave of renters vacated on March 31. Developer John Hampton originally said the demolition process would begin by November. It is now December and the People of Charlestown have not received an updated plan of removal. How long does the process take? The timeline below clarifies how long it has taken so far:
The letter calling upon Pleasant Ridge Redevelopment, LLC to meet their responsibilities for the demolition of the structures they own has not been sent. The letter is not in the draft process. As of now there seems to be no indication that the letter will be sent.
What we do have is confirmation that the City has submitted applications to IDEM for removal. We know that some of those applications have been approved. We know that there are clusters of boarded up houses in Pleasant Ridge that meet John Hampton’s criteria for removal (Winthrop Drive, Arlington Drive, and Berkley Drive all provide examples of houses in clusters of five or more).
It is my hope that the City remains steadfast on this issue and that these dangerous structures, for which the City admits it bears responsibility, will be taken down as quickly as possible.
*** UPDATE ***
Immediately after posting this timeline I saw an article in today’s Courier Journal in which Hampton is quoted as saying that the demolition permits were obtained before the recent ruling on the preliminary injunction (December 4, 2017). Hampton told the journalist that the homes will begin coming down in January 2018.