What we think: Let’s bulldoze before we annex

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The city of Shelbyville should require developers to destroy Wesley Apartments.

The owners of the former Wesley Apartments, on the corner of U.S. 50 and Freedom’s Way, now are asking to be annexed into the city of Shelbyville, and the city council has given that request its first approval.

We’re not opposed to having the property annexed – in fact, we think it should be and positioned for new businesses – but why on earth would the city want to accept this excruciating eyesore as it now exists?

Because our belief is that, if the city wants this rat-infested, falling down, flop house, then the city then will have to do something about what is perhaps the most embarrassing piece of rubble in the entire county.

Council member Frank Page is right to have questioned the council Thursday before voting on annexation about what the city could do about this piece of rubbish. He had code violations and action in mind.

And make no mistake, this is rubbish at its highest, need-to-be bulldozed form.

This piece of property sits at the gateway to Shelbyville, on the nearest-to-Louisville corner of the city limits.

This is what folks who come in off Interstate 64 see of "Shelbyville" as they travel the bypass. Is this the image we want?

Of course not.

So why are aren't the owners held accountable to demolish this eyesore then be considered for annexation?

The property certainly has been allowed by the county to sit for nearly three years since its condemnation and abandonment, and we’re pretty sure Shelby County Fiscal Court would like to have the blood of this blight off its hands.

This has been a problem bothering us ever since the bypass opened, and it is part of the editorial agenda we laid out for the community in January. We want action.

But for the council to annex the property before demolition is a course fraught with loopholes, procrastination and absence of authority.

Our forefathers used to have barn raisings to help a neighbor build a barn. Do we need a volunteer apartment demolition to improve our county?

How about let’s see a ball swing and a dump truck back up there? How about if the fire department just burns the thing to ashes?

Shelbyville Mayor Tom Hardesty says it is his understanding that the developers who own the property, Wesley Apartments LLC – as represented by John Clark – are ready to bring out the wrecking ball.

They want the annexation – which could be final as soon as March 1 – to expedite their ability to build on the land quickly. Again, we’re all for that.

But color us a bit careful by what we have learned with the unfortunate and far less aggrieving request for the city to annex the property that formerly was the Bluegrass Bowling Center so that new owners could sell alcohol more easily. Plans don’t always equal action.

We are hoping this plan does equal action – by the city.

We think before this ordinance passes there should be some sort of written deadline for the developers to remove the eyesore.

Otherwise, we will consider this to be the city’s problem to repair.

So who will be responsible? Who will dump this dump?