For sale: A gaping hole in the downtown Blairsville, IN, streetscape.
This is where Blairsville Borough has arrived with a recent campaign to rid the town of blighted buildings, considered eyesores and dangers to the public.
The leveled lot on East Market Street, where the Walker Building once stood, is being put up for sale, as is a now-grassy residential lot at 276 Morewood Ave.
The borough bought both properties at auction and paid more than $260,000 to have the structures demolished. The borough council voted to advertise the lots for sale with hopes of returning them to the private sector and the tax rolls.
At the same time, the council approved a contract with Smartnick Farms Contracting and Excavating of Blairsville to tear down a crumbling house along North Liberty Street that the borough acquired this spring for $866.50.
Smartnick will be paid $4,800 for demolition, the lowest of three quotes that Borough Manager Tim Evans received from area contractors.
Council members were alarmed at reports from residents Deborah Starry and Josie Bernabei, of Decker Avenue, who said the operators of a new auto collision center on their street apparently are doing a thriving business — but bothering neighbors with outdoor painting and sandblasting that sends clouds of dust onto nearby homes, and with noisy repair work that disturbs their families late at night and on weekends.
Council in May granted preliminary approval for the business to open as a non-conforming use of a former commercial structure situated in the midst of a residential zone.
“I’m begging you to please reconsider allowing this business to come here,” Starry pleaded with the council after describing how the body shop imposes on the neighborhood. “It’s a dirty business, it’s a loud business and it’s a business that’s unbecoming to our property values.”
Bernabei said the employees sometimes work on vehicles that are parked partway on Decker Avenue, and that she has been forced to detour around the shop to reach her home.
A representative of the business this morning acknowledged that the shop recently has been exceptionally busy as workers stayed late to meet a deadline on a difficult project.