ASHLAND -- Demolitions began earlier this week along Ashland's proposed Center Run Trail.
On Sunday, April 5, Page Demolition and Excavating began tearing down the first of 13 structures, located along portions of Cleveland Avenue and Main Street -- beginning at Bicentennial Park (near the Dairy Queen) up to Miller Street.
According to Mayor Matt Miller, the primary reason for the structures to be removed is to restore the riparian corridor, or the area along Town Creek, which was called "Center Run" on early maps. Currently, the structures exist within a flood plain.
The city bought the properties from homeowners over the past year, on an opt-in basis, through a nearly $1.2 million grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission, which also is funding 75 percent of the demolition cost. Homeowners received an amount determined by a state-certified appraiser.
The city of Ashland received six bids for the demolition projects, the lowest of $144,300 from Page Demolition and Excavating, the same company cleaning up what's become known as the Pump House Corridor.
"Before, I was willing to agree to Page doing the project, I met with Mr. Page, and he assured me, he could handle both these projects," Mayor Miller said.
The excavating company hit a roadblock last year when special equipment ordered for the Pump House demolition broke down. The project was delayed as the company awaited repairs.
Recently, Miller said he's seen progress at the Pump House site, too.
"They've made major progress this past week, and they are working late into the days most days," Miller said.
Fourth Street is expected to stay closed until it can reopen as a two-way street between Miller and Cottage Streets.
The bid from Page was just short of $100,000 less than the anticipated demolition costs of $240,000. Other bids for the Center Run Trail demolitions ranged from $149,300 to $347,000.
Seventy-five percent of the demolition cost is covered through a grant from the Ohio Public Works Commission; 25 percent is from the city of Ashland.
Since properties were acquired at different times, some may still have residents. Many aren’t expected to vacate the properties until May.
For this reason, Mayor Miller has previously said, the demolitions are planned on a staggered timeline.
Demolitions are expected to be done by July 31, 2020, per grant regulations.