Oft-burned Liberty complex to be razed

LIBERTY – A disgusted Britany Newell watched from her home along Naylor Lloyd Road last month as a blaze slowly grew out of control at a vacant structure on the property of the former Barclay Apartments.

The 32-unit apartment building was the fourth structure on the property to be destroyed by fire at the site since 2011.

Now, just one large structure remains standing on the vacant lot.

“It’s disgusting,” Newell said during an interview Tuesday afternoon. “It’s an eyesore. They need to just flatten it out.”

That sentiment is beginning to resonate among township officials as trustees passed a resolution in early July to put the structures out to bid for demolition and asbestos removal.

Trustee Jodi Stoyak said she has been trying to get the buildings razed for months, but the funding was never there to do the project.

“I personally have tried to obtain these funds for probably eight months,” Stoyak said.

According to the resolution, grant funds will be obtained from the Trumbull County Land Bank for the asbestos removal and demolition as part of the Ohio Attorney General’s $75 million program to reduce blight statewide.

Stoyak estimates the asbestos removal alone would cost around $80,000. After the asbestos is removed, the fire department will likely use a training burn to keep costs down, but Stoyak said the project is still in its early phases.

For neighbors, the demolition can’t come fast enough. With four of the buildings already destroyed by fires, most believe it is inevitable the remaining structure will have the same fate if left too long.

“That last one will probably go up at any time,” Bobbie Meyle said. “It doesn’t look healthy over there at all.”

In addition to health concerns, criminal activity is rampant on the property, Meyle said.

“I’ve called the cops a couple times for stuff going on over there just in the last week,” Meyle said.

Newell has also notified Liberty police about disturbances on the property since the last fire in early July.

“People are going over there and taking scraps,” Newell said. “They have us up all night by going over there and taking stuff, making the dogs bark.

“They can either turn it into a parking lot or whoever is going to buy it, just do what they have to do,” she continued. “If they would just tear it down, there would be a lot less headaches.”

Officials declined to commit to a timetable for demolition at this stage of the process, but did indicate the razing has become a priority.