Paraphrasing a decidedly more historic moment in American history, one happy onlooker today declared, “another long national nightmare is over,” as wrecking crews made quick business of demolishing the long vacant former Arby’s Restaurant on Napier Avenue across from Slumberland Furniture this afternoon.
Electing to remain anonymous, the eyewitness to the tear-down by crews from Withrow Excavating said he was just happy that the “ridiculous battle over what was clearly incapable of meaningful rehabilitation short of starting from scratch,” is finally at an end.
The dilapidated building was actually officially condemned five years ago, but Benton Township authorities have been trying to get the building in front of a wrecking ball since 2011.
Last month Benton Township Building Inspector Chris Fuchs had informed the township’s Board of Trustees that notice had been posted and an $18,000 bid for demolition was accepted by the trustees who couldn’t wait to get the eyesore ripped from the landscape.
An enjoined battle had kept the bulldozers at bay for years as legal wrangling by the building’s owners went through multiple hearings, appeals, and other gyrations with promises to get the building back in shape and ready for something new.
There was light at the end of the tunnel in mid-September last year when a letter ordering demolition was presented to the owners, but it was more than seven months later that the final approval to destroy the ramshackle structure came down. The plan is to assess the demolition charges to the property taxes owed by the building’s owners.
They had petitioned for utilities to be hooked up more than five years ago to allow for repairs, but work was reportedly never advanced as township officials became increasingly strident in their demands to resolve the matter.
The building’s condemnation was originally driven by the apartment complex next door whose management had repeatedly complained about the condition of the building and the dangers it posed. Thanks to quick work by the Withrow crew, the blighted building was a mere pile of rubble by the time evening commuters made their way past the site.
What the future holds for that location remains to be seen now that the building has been successfully removed from the scene. Stay tuned.