Saturday, June 30, 2012

And the Walls Came Tumbling Down

Notice anything different?  Guess what?  That eyesore building next to the Stoddart Avenue Community Garden is now mostly gone.  You can even see the street sign for Stoddart and Main from the Garden now. 

As reported here just two weeks ago, we were told that the eyesore was only the third most hazardous eyesore in the City's Land Bank inventory, would be bid out in July and most likely would be demolished in the Fall.  That was good news.  Then, last weekend, barricades went up.  John Turner had an engineer inspect the building and suddenly and without warning, the demolition was put on an extremely fast track.  A three-ton backhoe showed up on Wednesday and Orlando called me at 3:30 to rush over.  By the time I got there before 4 p.m., the driver was gone, but not before running over one of our new cherry trees.  To say I was annoyed is an understatement. (I had planted that tree a month ago in the heat and had been watering it twice/week in this drought and don't have time to go get another tree, transport it, dig another hole and plant it before the Garden Tour in eight days). 

Look how close the backhoe is to the Garden and our precious shed.  This process has been a little nervewracking, to say the least.

We thought the building would be demolished on Thursday, but instead the building started to come down on Friday morning.  Needless to say, it drew a surprised and amazed crowd, including several SACG gardeners.   Some neighbors did a little dance of joy to celebrate the destruction of one of the ugliest builidngs in Central Ohio.   One neighbor expressed regret that one of the last wall paintings by Walt Neil could not be saved.  His paintings used to decorate buildings up and down Main and Livingston.

The demolition took all day. There was not much left of the roof.  Eveyone was surprised how easily it came down.  We managed to use a leak in the fire hose (used to keep down the dust) to water Rayna's plot.  (She catches all of the breaks).   It was ungodly hot, so even though we managed to do some gardening in the morning, that activity became unwise as the day progressed.  Beside, no one wanted to be downwind from all of the dust.  

Around 3 p.m., my phone started buzzing with heat alerts and then severe thunder storm warnings.  The radar showed the storm in Dublin, so I wasn't too concerned as we packed up to leave.  However, the storm hit literally seconds after I walked in my backdoor.   Who knew that 82 mph winds were coming our way?  Gotta love that rain, though.  I had to drive back to the Garden to ensure that everyone else got away ok and found construction debris blown all over the neighborhood and the Garden.  (The  crew was only able to haul away maybe six loads before calling it quits for the weekend).  Our tank, which had been almost empty on Friday morning was up to 300 gallons and it was still raining when I left at 6 p.m.

And we now have a view of Main Street (albeit not a pretty one) from the Garden, now.  We plan to build a screen to improve the sight of our compost bins from Main Street now that the eyesore no longer serves that function.

 The demolition contractor tells me that she intends to leave no bricks behind in case we want to garden there (although they were pushing debris into the old basement). She'll cover it and plant grass seed before she leaves. (Let's hope it gets watered in well).

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