Neighbors want giant east side grain silo torn down

COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Neighbors are calling a giant abandoned grain silo a dangerous eyesore. Several members from the “South of Main” neighborhood said they have tried for years to get the city or the silo’s owner to tear it down.

The silo, built in 1920, is near the intersection of East Main Street and Nelson Road, just inside the Columbus city boundary and sitting along the Historic National Road.  “It stands as a testament of Columbus’ rural past, but has long outlived its use,” said Near East Area Commissioner Kathleen Bailey.

In the 1990s the grain silo was valued at more than $2 million, but documents obtained by NBC4 show in present day it could cost nearly $1 million to tear down. More than ten times its present value.

The owner Main and Nelson Station LLC was granted a demolition permit in 2013, but little has been done, other than knock holes in the bottom of the silos and put a fence around the structure.

All the while neighbors said over the years vandals have climbed it, painted graffiti on it and partied inside it, making it a recipe for disaster.

“It is an accident waiting for a place to happen. It’s raggedy. It speaks volumes to our neighborhood,” said Antoinette Savage.  She and Walter Chappelear, both live near the silos.

“Some days I just want to say ‘Mr. Ginther bring down these silos,’” Chappelear said.

Everyone involved said they know it is a massive demolition project. The building is so large, it can be seen many blocks down Main Street in Bexley.

Neighbors said they have talked with city officials for years about the structure.

“Over the course of years, different conversations, but it doesn’t seem to go anywhere. Nobody wants to tackle it,” said Bailey.

NBC4 checked public records and found the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals decided the “Fair Market Value” for the property in 2014 was $99,600 for the land and building. That not only reduced the value of the property, but reduced the property taxes from around $96,000 to $7,600. Money meant for the Columbus City Schools, who fought the devaluation at both the Board of Revision and Board of Tax Appeals and lost.

NBC4 found the name and address of the owner of Main and Nelson Station LLC with the Ohio Secretary of State. Bernard Fleming is the register owner and the business address is 2246 South Hamilton Road Suite 201. That office space is unmarked and locked. NBC4 also emailed and phoned another of his other business interests, where during a stop we were told those messages were passed to Fleming. But as of this report he has not responded to inquiries about what the plans are for structure.

Shayla Favor with the Columbus City Attorney’s Office said several city departments are meeting in the next few days to discuss the empty silos.

Contractors were seen on the property today removing scrap metal from the lower part of the structure, but no one would say when and if the structure will be demolished.

Officials said if remediation is needed to remove asbestos or hazardous materials, the cost of demolition could increase.

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