Main Street Fire: One year later

It isn’t an anniversary to celebrate, but it is one to note.

Tuesday, Nov. 12 marked one year since the fire on Main Street that left behind a large, unsightly pile of rubble.

Many people have been waiting patiently for it to be removed, others have grumbled and still more have continued to make jokes and bets about its cleanup. Regardless of opinion, the reality is that behind a wooden fence hiding it from view there still sits a big mess of charred remains.

Tom Scott, former mayor of Granville and owner of Scotties’ Restaurant, said he hasn’t raised issue about the situation for a year but is now frustrated.

“I’ve been quiet, but now it’s time to do something. It’s way too long. Number one, there should’ve been a completion day set in the contract. Number two, the village board should do something. It’s affecting the whole village now,” Scott said.

The contract he referred to is one with Edgeco Environmental, Inc., who was hired to clean up the pile. Throughout the summer and into the fall, the company has sporadically stopped by to pick up one pile every few weeks.

He said the village might have to spend money at this point to speed up the process but believes it needs to hire a new contractor.

“I know the village board thinks they can’t do anything, but they can,” Scott said. He believes the fence surrounding the pile should never have been put up, not only because of the money it cost, but because it keeps the pile covered enough that it’s been ignored.

“It’s being treated differently because it’s Main Street,” Scott said. “Do you think they’d leave it if it was next to Veterans Park? No. Do you think they’d leave it if it was next to the school? No. They’re leaving it there because it’s next to a business,” he said.

Not only does the rubble serve as an eyesore, but Scott said it’s also drastically increased his heating costs to have the exposed wall.

George Henry, who owns the property at 6 North St., which overlooks the pile of rubble, agrees that it is an eyesore but does fault the village.

“Everyone is quick to blame village government, but from what I see the legality that rears its head in all of this sort of handcuffs everyone,” he said, referring to issues surrounding the presence of asbestos. He said he is disappointed in the inaction of Edgeco but also questions what will happen once the pile is removed.

“If it were gone tomorrow, instead of a pile on Main Street there’s going to be a pit on Main Street,” Henry said.

He said he’s most upset that another piece of the village’s history has vanished.                         

“It’s sad to see. It’s a haphazard monument to the past of Granville.”

Though Scott, like many residents, is frustrated and calling for action, Mayor Brian LaRose maintains that the situation is not a village issue because it’s private property. However, he did say he is unhappy with the rubble still remaining a year later.

“The village has done everything we can do, and I think we’ve gone over and above, but it’s to the point now where it has to be pushed,” he said. He drafted a letter and sent it out last week, explaining that he is not happy with progress, and enough time has elapsed that it’s time to move along.

“My understanding is that the pile be removed within 30 days or we’ll look at other means. There are other avenues we can take,” LaRose said, explaining that the village does have options with property maintenance laws.

He did not divulge exactly what those avenues would be but said village government is trying to help the cause.

“Pressures have been put on by the village, and now we’ll put on more pressure,” he said.

Numerous calls to Edgeco were not returned as of Tuesday afternoon.

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