Bids invited on razing burned-out store

LOCK HAVEN — Contractors are invited to bid on razing the burned-out former furniture store at 37-41 Bellefonte Ave.

City Council voted unanimously Monday to proceed with removing the vacant structure. No comments were made about the proposed demolition.

Council Vice President Stephen L. Stevenson was not at the meeting, and Councilman Jonathan Bravard participated by phone.

Bids are due by 5 p.m. Feb. 5, two hours before city council’s next meeting.

The disastrous fire in the vacant store took place on Dec. 16, 2016. A year and three days after that date, the city issued a demolition order. Owner David Mayes has not responded.

Within living memory, the building has housed a Wolf’s Furniture store and a Heilig-Meyers Furniture store. In later years, discount household merchandise could be purchased there.

Today, there is no roof on its top floor and the large front windows show only wreckage.

Neighboring buildings have been affected. At least one, Covenant United Methodist Church, needs to make exterior repairs, but safety dictates that these repairs must wait until the condemned structure is repaired or removed.

A section of Willard’s Alley has been closed, also for safety, and a perimeter set up to discourage people from walking in front of the burned-out building.

If the city is forced to pay for the demolition, it will place a lien on the property to eventually recoup the costs, City Manager Gregory J. Wilson said.