Hammond Council votes to demolish 10 structures, spares one

The City Council took aim Tuesday night at blighted and dilapidated buildings, voting unanimously to issue condemnation and demolition orders on 10 structures while allowing a single house to be restored.

Among properties being torn down is a former office building at 1110 Morris Ave., one of the main approaches to downtown Hammond. A tree fell on the building during Hurricane Isaac and caused considerable damage. Attorney Carlie White, representing her father, who owns the building, said that the owners would handle demolition of the structure.

The council decided to give Patricia George, the owner of a residence at 911 Mooney Ave. 90 days to try to salvage a building heavily damaged by a falling tree.

George said her daughter agreed to help her and she has already purchased materials to try to rebuild the house.

City Building Director Bobby Mitchell, responding to a question from Councilman Lemar Marshall, said the average cost of demolishing a residence is between $3,500 and $5,000. The cost of tearing down a brick structure could be higher, Mitchell said.

Mitchell said the city gives property owners 30 days from the time the council approves demolition to get the structure demolished. Failing a proper response, the city demolishes the building and obtains a lien on the property. If the property is ever sold, Mitchell said, the city is repaid the cost of demolition through the lien. Property owners can also pay off the lien if they choose, he said.

Most of the properties condemned Tuesday are in districts 1 and 3 in the older areas of the city. Three of them are on Mooney Avenue.

Other business coming before the council included:

GRANT SOUGHT: The council agreed to apply for a $250,000 grant through the state Water Conservation Fund for further improvements to Zemurray Park.

If approved, the grant would be spent on a pond aeration system for the park lake, a fishing deck and pier, a splash park, improved sidewalks and possibly picnic table pavilions. The city would provide $250,000 in matching funds.

CLEANEST CITY: Mayor Mayson Foster announced that Hammond will undergo preliminary judging April 27 in the Louisiana Garden Club Federation’s Cleanest City Contest.

The Keep Hammond Beautiful Committee, the Hammond Garden Club and the city government will carry out a trash cleanup project from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. on Saturday.

Headquarters for the clean-up will be in the parking lot on North Oak Street across from Regions Bank, Foster said.