LEWISTON — A city policy to begin thinning worn out, abandoned downtown tenements should begin paying off this week.
Lewiston Budget and Purchasing Director Norm Beauparlant said crews from Roland's Demolition, 949 Minot Ave., should begin knocking down walls at 10 College St. on June 19.
"By June 20, it should gone," Beauparlant said.
The six-unit apartment building has been vacant since 2008 and has been owned by Deutsche Bank AG New York since 2010. The building had been left open to vandals and copper thieves and had become a danger to the community, prompting the city's actions.
It won't be the only tenement to be torn down this summer. Crews from Cross Excavation should begin work tearing down the vacant 305 Bates St. the following week, and it should be gone by June 26.
Buildings at 81 Lincoln St. and 67 Oak St. — immediately behind the 10 College St. lot — are next on the list. They should be gone by mid-July.
Councilors added 357 Sabattus St. to the list June 5 and Beaparlant said he can begin scheduling work once the owners are notified.
Councilors are scheduled to decide on another building Tuesday night, voting on possible condemnation of 122 Pierce St.
And that's only a start to the city's list of abandoned and failing buildings. The city has a list of between 50 and 80 buildings that are vacant and have been for number of years.
Lewiston code officials have been working to identify and demolish dangerous and unstable tenements in the downtown, working from a list of condemned or vacant buildings around the downtown.
The city has set aside $337,000 in the 2011-12 budget to help demolish the buildings and $312,000 in the 2012-13 budget aimed at demolitions.
"A lot goes on that people don't see," Beauparlant said. "They talk about demolishing a building and talk about it and finally decide. And then nothing happens for a few weeks. That's when I'm busiest. A lot is happening in the background and then boom, it's gone."
For example, Beauparlant said the crews from Summit Engineering have spent the past couple of weeks at the 10 College St. building, pulling off old asbestos-laced shingles on the buildings' front.
"A lot of buildings downtown, if they have the hard shingles, they might have asbestos," he said. "So we had to remove it first."
Crews can start the demolition once the environmental work is done. Beauparlant said they'll be watering the building as it comes down to keep dust from rising, and watering the rubble again as it's hauled away.
"That's our standard procedure," he said. "The one thing we are doing differently is broader notifications of the neighbors. It's the big enhancement this time."
The city is working with Healthy Androscoggin warning neighbors of the buildings to keep their windows closed while the work continues to keep any lead dust or other contaminates outside.
The city is distributing brochures to all neighbors within 300 feet of the demolitions urging them to leave their shoes outside to keep demolition dust out and to clean with water if they notice heavy dusty build up afterward.
View Pending demolitions in a larger map