Poindexter Tower Closer to Demolition

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After 50 years, a former public housing complex on Columbus’s near East side is closer to being demolished. Poindexter Tower is empty and in horrendous condition but Columbus and Franklin County officials are taking steps to get the complex razed.

City workers secured the loose boards at the front of Poindexter Tower, but it’s not enough to stop vagrants from entering a trash filled and rat infested building. Franklin County Treasurer, Ed Leonard.

“It really is a blight on the community, just to see just this particular area is just representative of what you see throughout the building. Ten stories, 101 units and all of them are in this shape or worse,” said Leonard.

Leonard says within a year Poindexter Tower should be torn down finally. It has been empty for about 7 years. Franklin County Officials have secured the titles of 71 condos out of 101 in the building. County prosecutor, Ron O’Brien says the process is a long one.

“We have had to go to court on each unit that wants to fight about it. So it’s unit by unit by unit on 10 floors where ordinarily you would just file the action against the entire premises in the whole building with one owner, O’Brien said.

The titles were transferred to the nonprofit Central Ohio Community Improvement Corporation. Executive Director, Joel Teaford says community input on what to build on the property will be taken into account.

“It feels like it’s a big piece of property, but it’s not. It’s barely over an acre, so when that thing is down there are all kinds of plans for Poindexter Village which is right next door and I suspect that this will get wrapped into those in some way,” said Teaford.

Venessa Williams has lived in Poindexter Village for 5 years. She looks forward to getting rid of the tower.

“Cause it has been an eyesore and as far as the people stealing the copper and the wires and everything, they used to come in and out and just be there in the middle of the night or early in the morning,”said Williams.

Williams wants to see a grocery store built next door so she won’t have to travel so far. But, community leader and business owner, Melvin Steward Sr. says a grocery store can’t make it in a lower income community.

“In this area here it’s once a month money. And at the first of the month you’ll make a dollar, but at the 15th to the 30th of the month your fruits and vegetables are going to waste,” Steward said.

Steward supports a fitness and health center at the site for senior citizens and those suffering from diabetes and obesity.

Across the street at a tire store, David Rawahneh wants the county to renovate the tower for senior citizens.

“What if they tore it down what do you think about that? It’s going to look like an empty lot and it’s going to have a lot of people hanging around it and it’s just going to be like any other place when you demolish a building. But it looks nice and it’s worth it to be fixed for the people,” Rawahneh said.

As county officials try to locate the 30 remaining condo owners, it could take another year before the building comes down.