WARREN, Ohio (WKBN) – Warren City Officials believe they are one step closer to removing a large eyesore in the city.
Vandalized, covered with graffiti, some bearing profanities, broken windows and trash, the old St. Joseph Riverside Hospital is considered the biggest eyesore in Warren.
But now, new life for this once thriving property is in sight. Mayor Doug Franklin announced legislation, that if passed by council, would allow the city to apply for a $2.5 million asbestos abatement grant through the Ohio Development Services Agency.
“This is the most important piece of legislation that we’ve been able to undertake since this building closed in 1995,” Franklin said.
The funds will bring the city closer to tearing down the condemned commercial building.
“It’s priority number one. This is a big transformational project for that side. We do have short-term and long-term plans,” Franklin said.
First Ward Councilman Larry Larson said he is looking forward to the change in his view.
“I love that neighborhood. I’m looking forward to looking out my front window and looking down and seeing maybe another shiny building or a greenfield for now, but this is a first step, and it’s a glorious day,” Larson said.
Grant awards are expected to be announced by the middle of next month. Franklin says he’s confident the city will receive it. If so, it’ll fund the first phase of the demolition process, with work expected to start this year. The actual demolition is slated to begin in the second or third quarter of next year.
“We estimate the total project cost to be close to $5 million. Once we get the asbestos done, we’ll be looking for another $2 million, give or take, for the actual demolition itself. We are looking at other grant sources to accomplish that,” said Community Development Coordinator Michael Keys.