City begins process to demolish Life O'Riley

Posted: 6:45 PM, Aug 23, 2016
Updated: 2016-08-24 07:13:53-04

Life O'Riley is undergoing an environmental assessment, a requirement before the homes can be torn down.

The assessment is a survey of the homes to determine if there's anything dangerous inside of them that would cause public harm during the demolition.

More than 90 structures still cover the Life O'Riley mobile home park and before it's flattened, each one will be inspected.

"Our plan is to work as many daylight hours as we can until the job is completed," said Bryan Dryer of the Environmental Testing and Consulting Group.

During the next four weeks, his team is looking for asbestos, lead paint and any other hazardous materials throughout the park.

"We're gonna have to consider each building individually and make sure we write specific information for that structure, just have the best information possible so the City has that going forward," Dryer explained.

The City of Lansing will take that report to court, seeking a Judge's approval to have another contractor remove the dangerous materials before all of the homes can be demolished.

"Once the demolition starts, I think it's going to go very quickly," said Bob Johnson, with the City's Planning and Neighborhood Development. "But, the process to get to that point, we have to make sure we dot every 'i' and cross every 't'."

Taking every precaution to not mess up a process that's already taken two years.

"Because the property owner has been derelict," Mayor Virg Bernero said. "I mean the reality is the property owner has refused to act responsibly, putting the rest of the neighborhood in jeopardy, financially, and even with things like vermin, with who knows what is on the property."

The Mayor says the neglected property has attracted criminal behavior.

"We will be so much better off when it's a blank slate. And, when it's a blank slate, it can be marketed. It can be redeveloped," he said.

The day neighbors are looking forward to.

"It's time for a change for that end of the neighborhood," Thomas Stowell said. "A nice little subdivision could go in there. You could put twenty, twenty-plus nice houses in there, a nice circle drive and it'd be good for it."

City leaders tell News Ten they are expecting some push back from the property owner as the demolition process gets underway.

The owner will be billed for the assessment, demolition and eventual clean-up of the property.

We spoke with him on the phone. He says he has no comment.

The assessment is expected to take about four weeks. The City's next court date is in mid-September. If the judge allows the City to move forward with the demolition, the City says the property should be cleared about two months later.