WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) — The City of Warren is celebrating now that the former St. Joseph Riverside Hospital is finally coming down.

More than 50 people attended a press conference at the site on Tod Avenue on Tuesday. Warren Mayor Doug Franklin ceremonially knocked down bricks on what used to be the hospital’s front entrance.

The push to get rid of the nearly 300,000 square-foot eyesore has spanned over two decades, but demolition of the blighted building began last week.

“This process was necessary for us to build for tomorrow. We couldn’t move forward with a structure like this,” Franklin said. “It was actually destabilizing the neighborhood in a real dollars-and-cents way with property values.”

“It’s wonderful — after all these years we’ve been trying to do this, it’s fantastic to see the mayor out here and people doing it — it’s great,” said Larry Larson of the North West Neighborhood Association. “It’s great for the neighborhood. It’s great for the city.”

Mayor Doug Franklin says the building could be torn down by Christmas.

During demolition, crews found a time capsule containing documents from 1982. It will be donated to the Trumbull County Historical Society for its new St. Joe’s collection.