Ypsilanti Township begins demolition process for vacant Liberty Square
Tom Perkins | For AnnArbor.com
Ypsilanti Township has taken the first step in what could be a lengthy demolition process of the abandoned Liberty Square townhouse complex.
That township has signed a contract with a company to perform an environmental study and asbestos abatement survey that are required before demolition.
The move comes despite some former Liberty Square residents filing an appeal with the Michigan State Court of Appeals to a Washtenaw County Circuit Court judge’s decision to declare the property a public nuisance and order it demolished.
But Mike Radzik, director of the township’s office of community standards, said those appealing the ruling didn’t have a stay placed on Judge Donald Shelton's orders.
In August, Shelton ordered the Grove Park Home Improvement Association to demolish the property within 60 days, and ordered the township to complete the job if the home improvement association did not.
Grove Park has no money, the abandoned complex still stands. and it remains a drain on township resources. Radzik said it is now the township’s responsibility to demolish it.
“We’re under the gun to comply with the court’s order,” he said.
He said the township entered into a contract with Detroit-based TEG Environmental Services to complete the survey and study for an amount not to exceed $47,500 for both. One of TEG’s owners is an Ypsilanti Township resident.
The study and asbestos survey are required by state and federal law, and samples must be taken from each of the 151 units in the 17 buildings at Liberty Square. The complex is on Grove Road just west of Rawsonville Road.
In the asbestos survey, samples of materials such as tile flooring or drywalling that could contain asbestos are taken from the buildings and sent to a lab for analysis. If asbestos is found, then the materials containing it must be removed from the site and sent to a dump that accepts hazardous materials.
That could significantly increase the demolition’s cost, though Radzik said the township is hopeful it can either secure grants or some type of state or federal assistance for the project.
The environmental study will be a less extensive review of the site to make sure there aren't other hazardous materials that must be addressed.
Shelton called the complex a “dilapidated and essentially abandoned housing area” in his August ruling. It faced a wide range of issues ranging from deteriorating walls to mold to badly damaged roofs.
Between November and February, the township spent between $20,00 and $25,000 boarding up and securing the complex, then re-securing it after vandals and scrap metal thieves broke in.
Radzik said an informal asbestos survey and environmental report should be ready within six weeks after the contract is signed, and the township can seek requests for proposals on the demolition after a formal report is issued.