Old hospital concerns reader

A reader called in asking who owns the old King’s Daughters Hospital and what’s being done to take care of it?

The old building has been around since 1922 and has housed a hospital, and according to some people, a couple ghosts. However, the old building, which was built during the time when contractors used asbestos and lead paint at will, now sits idle at the corner of North Jackson Street and West Congress Street disheveled, abandoned and completely open to any kind of public intrusion.

“The building is certainly old enough to have asbestos,” Chip Gennaro, city inspector, said.

He also said although he cannot give an exact number, it costs a lot to get someone in there to find out if the building does have asbestos. If asbestos has been found, then it would have to be cleaned up properly before anything could be done with the building.

“The city would have to do a complete and environmental study of the building then decide how much to renovate,” Joe Fernald, city attorney, said.

According to public records at the Chancery Clerk Land Records Department, a private owner who lives outside of the county owns the property making it harder for action to be taken on the building by the city because permission would have to be granted by the owner.

“We’d have to go through state law and put him on the clean-up list, which he is on,” Gennaro said.

Gennaro said the owner has been on the list since May of this year and has not responded to calls or other forms of contact.

“We’ve gotten complaints about the property on and off for a year or two,” Gennaro said.

He said if the owner were to never respond to notices from being on the clean-up list the city’s Board of Aldermen would have to decide what next steps to take.

“It would be a huge expense for the city, but it would be up to them,” Gennaro said.

Attempts to reach the owner of the property were unsuccessful.