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First house of year razed

By John Miller, 05/11/22 3:18 PM

PRESCOTT – A house in the 400 block of Greenlawn was razed Wednesday morning at the request of the owner.

However, even with the owner’s permission, it took several months before everything was ironed out and the house could be demolished. Prescott Mayor Terry Oliver said the city normally razed 10-12 houses a year, based on how many the county landfill is willing to take. The plan is to knock down around 20 this year, if possible. Cleaning up dilapidated houses is an ongoing project Oliver has been working on for the last 12 years.

He pointed out there’s nothing quick or easy in taking a house down. Not only is the mayor’s office involved, but the city attorney has to research the property in question to see if there are any liens against it, or if it’s been tuned back to the state for non-payment of property taxes. In the latter case, the city has to deal with the state to get permission to take the structure down. The Prescott-Nevada County Economic Development Office is involved, as is the Prescott Police Chief, and street supervisor for the city. When dealing with the state, the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality makes sure the city is following all regulations and there are no harmful substances, such as asbestos, involved. If asbestos is present, it must first be removed before the house can be torn down.

Once everything is in place, the city’s street crew takes center stage with two dump trucks and a Bobcat, with drivers for all of them. These men do the actual work of knocking the place down, clearing the debris and taking it to the landfill.

The crews showed up before 9 a.m. Wednesday to begin work, and had two truck loads of class IV material on the way to the Nevada County Landfill in less than 30 minutes.