Owner of dilapidated buildings has until Tuesday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 2, 2009

By Steve Huffman
SPENCER ó Town leaders have given the owner of a pair of dilapidated buildings until Tuesday to show he’s working to bring down the properties.
Linwood’s Larry Graves owns the properties at 127 and 129 Fifth St., just off Park Plaza.
In early August, members of the Board of Aldermen gave Graves until Aug. 27 to show that he’s working to raze the properties. At last week’s called meeting, Graves said he hadn’t started the work, but said it should commence soon.
Board members gave him until next Tuesday ó the night of their regularly scheduled monthly meeting ó to show he’s serious about his intentions.
Town Manager Larry Smith said aldermen told Graves last week that if he doesn’t have a contract by Tuesday to have the buildings demolished, they’ll take steps to have the properties razed.
The buildings have been a source of concern for Spencer aldermen for months. They’ve discussed the matter at several meetings and about two months ago the town had blocks of Fifth Street and Yadkin Avenue closed to prevent injury to motorists or pedestrians should bricks from the buildings fall.
The town solicited bids to have the properties razed, but the only bid came from D.H. Griffin Wrecking Co. of Greensboro. The company wants $77,560 to have the buildings demolished and town officials said they probably wouldn’t get that amount back even if they placed a lien against the property.
Andy Eller, a structural engineer who has advised the town on the matter, told aldermen last month that the buildings need to be demolished.
“In my opinion, it’s definitely a hazard to everyone around it,” Eller said. “A thunderstorm could easily push it over.”
The buildings are in the town’s Historic District and a handful of people looking to save the structures said their destruction will leave a gaping hole in the downtown landscape.