Owner Demolishes ‘Eyesore’ Getty Gas Station

Crews complete demolition of the former Getty gasoline station at 236 South Elm St., Bradford. (Photograph courtesy of Peter Carbone.)

What a Haverhill city councilor described as a “growing eyesore,” at a Bradford gateway to downtown Haverhill, is no more.

The vacant former Getty gas station at the Bradford side of the Comeau Bridge has been demolished after a permit was issued last week, said Haverhill Director of Health and Inspections Richard McDonald. He told WHAV today the demolition came after numerous complaints of trash and overgrown vegetation on the property as well as people getting inside an abandoned building on the lot.

“The owner of the property has been cooperating with us all along. He has done his best to resolve the issues. However, the issues continued on a regular basis to the point that the owner, thankfully, agreed to demolish the building,” McDonald said.

Records show the owners of nearby Skateland, operating as 236 South Elm Street, Merrimac, and George Pyche, purchased the lot in 2013 for $145,000.

Delay Result of City Difficulty Finding Water Shut-Off Valve

Deputy Public Works Director Robert E. Ward confirmed an earlier WHAV report difficulty finding a water shutoff delayed the demolition permit. He told WHAV construction over the years, including the replacement Comeau Bridge a decade ago, changed the water shutoff’s location from one shown on city “as built” plans. It took workers “about three weeks” to find its current location.

“It’s actually a very difficult site. There’s reinforced concrete. There’s a lot of other piping and a lot of metal in the ground. Our equipment for locating pipes relies on detecting metal. So we weren’t able to find it with our equipment and we eventually had to call in a specialist,” Ward said.

Ward estimated the costs of the outside service at $500, which he compared to similar service calls. In addition, he noted it was “a good investment” in the event of an emergency water line repair response.

“It’s typical that, obviously, the water department would shut the water off before a demolition. We’ll have to have that before we issued a demolition permit but I don’t know if there was a delay,” McDonald said.

As WHAV reported last month, city councilors, including Joseph J. Bevilacqua, said they and neighbors were concerned of a “growing eyesore” at the site. David S. Van Dam, chief of staff to Mayor James J. Fiorentini, told councilors Sept. 20, the property owner, who purchased the lot in 2013, planned to create a parking lot and sought permits to take the building down. It is also near the Bradford commuter rail station.

The former gas station had been vacant since it closed during replacement construction of the current Comeau Bridge a decade ago.

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