Former Trenton Mayor Weighs in on Riverside Hospital
"The City taxpayers would be on the hook for the demolition with the hopes of selling the property for enough that would recover their costs." -- Former Trenton Mayor Gerald Brown
Letter to the Editor:
The Patch has written several articles about the status of the former Riverside Hospital property and people have posted their comments about what they think should be done with the condition of the site.
I understand their frustration, but making demands of the City to take on the responsibility to demolish the privately owned site is not that easy of a process, in fact, it is very difficult to accomplish.
I've read that the current owner of the property, for whatever reason, has not allowed the City's Engineering Department to have access to the property, so that they can determine the current condition in order for them to provide the City's Dangerous Building Board a report for them to act on.
Seeking a court order to gain access is an option that can be exercised and may have already occurred.
Should the Board decide that the buildings are to be demolished, City officials would then contact the owner, the owner complies with the order and the problem goes away.
In the event the owner is not willing to cooperate with an ordered abatement of hazardous materials (asbestos, etc,) and demolition, the City may take on the responsibility of the demolition by acquiring another court order and proceed with the razing of the buildings.
The City would have to either pay cash or obtain a loan from a financial institution and make the required payments.
A lien would be placed on the property and upon the future sale, the City would be reimbursed for its costs if enough money was made at the sale.
With this being said, keep in mind that the estimated price for a total abatement and demolition is approximately 2 million dollars (could be more) and the owner paid $450,000 for the property over 3 years ago.
The owner might do the math and not pay the taxes on the property and walk away from it. It would then be foreclosed on by the county and the City could end up with it, if they chose to take it.
It would take a few years for the foreclosure process to take place and not a solution that solves any immediate frustrations. The City taxpayers would be on the hook for the demolition with the hopes of selling the property for enough that would recover their costs.
This is a rolling of the dice gamble and may not be in the best interests of the City residents because there would be no certainty that the property sale could absorb the demolition.
As we have read, the owner has stated to City officials that there is an alternate plan for the Riverside Hospital site and that the original development plan appears to be going to the City of Riverview on a property that does not have the deed restrictions that Henry Ford Health Systems has imposed on the Riverside site.
I hope, and I believe, that City officials and the owner will come to a mutually agreed upon solution that will move the revised Riverside property development forward.
Name calling, such as by one person who posted their opinion on the issue, is not the mature way to getting things done.
The Mayor and Council have options that I expect will be exercised in a manner that will satisfy the residents near the hospital site and the entire community.
If not, then they will have an accountability issue with our citizens.