Guernsey County Commissioners Purchase West 8th Street Properties

Guernsey County Commissioners Purchase West 8th Street Properties

June 16, 2017

For immediate release

A vacant office building-turned-eyesore will soon be removed from the Downtown Cambridge landscape.

The Guernsey County Board of Commissioners has assumed ownership of the now-vacant lot on West 8th Street where the Courthouse Deli stood before it was destroyed by fire in March of last year. In addition, Commissioners have also purchased the office building next-door, which was seriously damaged in the aftermath of the blaze.

“The walls of the deli had to be removed.” said Board President, Dave Wilson. “Because they shared a common wall, the unavoidable result was the exposure of nearly the entire south face of the adjacent building.”

The exposed side of the building has been at least partially covered by tarps since the demolition took place, but elements of weather and time have left them in tatters.

“Between calls made to our office as well as the complaints that (fellow Commissioners) Dave (Saft), Skip (Gardner) and I have listened to from citizens face-to-face, it was clear that county residents wanted this eyesore addressed and resolved,” Wilson added. “We know that City of Cambridge officials have received numerous complaints, as well.”

The Commissioners view removing the building as the only practical solution.

“We understand the historic element and we’d love to be able to keep the building,” said Gardner, “but the damage from having an entire side of the structure open to whatever Mother Nature could throw at it for well over a year pretty-much makes that impossible.”

“And it would be a huge waste of taxpayer dollars!” Gardner added.

While demolition will take place soon, there is work to be done beforehand.

“Ultimately, we want to put a building on these combined lots,” said Saft, “so before demolition can take place, the foundations that are already there need to be assessed to see if they can be used with new construction.”

Saft said that, once that assessment is complete, demolition will quickly follow.

“To us (the Commissioners) and to the citizens we’ve heard from, removing the building is the number one priority,” Saft explained. “Then we can take our time before we take the next step.”

While the Commissioners haven’t determined exactly what that next step will be, they feel that housing all county offices inside county-owned buildings is in the taxpayer’s best interest.

“The county has rented office space for years,” Saft pointed out. “The money now being spent on monthly rent should cover any construction costs and actually save money in the long run. We see this purchase as a solid first step toward making the county rent-free.”

“To be able to acquire property – literally – across the street from our courthouse is a rare opportunity,” said Wilson. “We could not let this chance slip by.”

The resolution authorizing the purchase of the property was passed unanimously this past Monday.