Fix not easy for old radar station area blight

Posted at 9:32 PM, Jun 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-06-22 16:35:02-04

Jay Davis has been on the job as an Omaha city inspector for more than two decades. He says for almost the entire time blighted buildings, that look like barracks, have been a rotting, near 72nd Street and Bennington Road.

It's the site of the World War II-era North Omaha radar station. "Obviously we'd like to see them gone," he said.

Back in May, 3 News Now investigated after a neighbor showed us the perimeter of the property, complaining that it had become an eyesore. He wondered why the owner or the city has not torn them down.

Our investigation uncovered, the owner of the northern part of the property, which includes about a dozen of the rundown buildings, is the Construction Laborers Buildings Corp. It's an operation that includes just four people. Their budget is only about $10,000, and the company does not have the finances to conduct a demolition.

Davis says the city has a demolition notice — meaning the buildings should be torn down — but we've learned the buildings have asbestos in them, as well as, lead paint. 

That would make the cost of tearing down just one of the dozen or so structures range anywhere from $80,000 to $100,000. "It's not considered an active demolition just because of the cost involved," Davis said.

The city currently has 135 buildings on the demolition list just waiting to come down, he said. 

His budget for the entire year is roughly $1 million. In other words, tearing down the barracks at the former radar base would consume his entire budget.

So the buildings sit and wait for a developer to buy the property and rip them down. Until, then people who live nearby shake their heads at what has become a neighborhood nuisance.