EAST LIVERPOOL, Ohio (WKBN) — A former East Liverpool school building is being reduced to rubble as part of a Brownfield demolition project funded by the state as the city works to reduce blight.

Over the next two weeks, the former East Junior High School building on Maryland Street in East End will be demolished. City officials say the building has been an eyesore for years and they’re happy to see it go.

“It really needed to go,” said first ward Councilman Tom Beagle.

Last year, Lt. Gov. Jon Husted announced it was being paid for by the Brownfield Remediation Grant, costing about $1.2 million.

Before the demolition, crews had to remove 25 square miles of asbestos.

“It will make it a better place to live. Hopefully, something good will go on here,” said Columbiana County Commissioner Mike Halleck. “I think it was an eyesore, and I think — to some extent — it was probably getting dangerous.”

“I think that it’s got great potential. I think this area needs something nice, and I look forward to trying to market it, see what we can do,” Beagle said.

It will take crews roughly two weeks to completely tear down the former school building, but city officials have been proactive about the land.

“The past, probably, two years, we’ve just been showing developers all over, anytime they come through the city, the opportunity,” said Mayor Greg Bricker. “This is certainly a property that we highlight.”

“If you get a developer or someone that comes takes an interest in it, and they work with the government of East Liverpool and the county, if needed, they’ll get rid of a lot of blight,” Halleck said.

Bricker said 115 homes have been torn down over the last few years. He would like to see new homes built on the 6 acres of land.

“We also just passed a community reinvestment area (CRA), that we could abate property taxes up to 15 years,” Bricker said. “Try to attract young people back and show them the potential we have.”

After demolition is complete, crews will need to remove all the debris. The property will then be put up for sale to developers.

In the meantime, those in East Liverpool now have a place to play pickleball, as last Thursday the courts opened on a site off East Fourth Street, near the YMCA.

At first, the courts were going to be next to the Hot Dog Shoppe, but the city settled on a unused parking lot next to the YMCA, which will be maintaining them. The cost was covered through funds the city raised.

The pickleball courts will be open during the time the YMCA is open and are open to the public.