Demo team sought for Johnstown

JOHNSTOWN —The city is making progress establishing its own demolition team.

The team would consist of employees of the city’s Department of Public Works. Once the team is established, City Engineer Christopher Vose said the hope is for the city to rely less on the Fulton County Demolition Team, which was established years ago to take down dilapidated, municipally-owned structures.

He said his office is working on getting three people licensed for asbestos abatement through the state Department of Labor. He said that is a big step in getting a crew together that can form a demolition team. Three have been sent for training with one more to go, he said.

Vose said the ones sent for training are now authorized to be on sites for demolition projects. Members of the team must also undergo physicals.

The city engineer in January told the Common Council he was interested in forming a separate city demolition team. He said the city has many unsightly buildings it can raze, hopefully without having to rely on the county team.

The Fulton County Demolition Team — based at the county landfill — was formed in 2000 to assist the county’s municipalities with the razing of their publicly-owned structures.

It works by using county staff and the staff from the municipality involved to take down structures.

County officials say the demolition team is a municipal cooperative effort to fight blight and make removal of old buildings more economical.

The county Department of Solid Waste purchased an excavator and other equipment needed to demolish and remove unsightly municipal-owned structures.

About 120 structures have been demolished since the inception of the program.

Vose said there would be four members of the Johnstown demolition team “to begin with,” but more may be added. He said the team at least in the beginning may need equipment help from outside the city.

“”We would probably have to have a little bit of help, initially,” he said.

But Vose said the hope is to have an independent unit that doesn’t have to raze buildings on the county’s schedule and “not be at their mercy.”

“The county team is very busy,” he said.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Kerry Minor

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