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Vacant building's danger outlined

The sound of a metal rod hitting the floor jolted the Sloan Village Board meeting to attention Tuesday night.

Gaining attention is exactly what Linda Ostempowski, of Roland Avenue, wanted because, as she stated, she had earlier wrestled it out of the hand of a youth who was fooling around in the vacant building next to her home and was about to throw into her pool.

"We have an abandoned building, which is dangerous," said Ostempowski, who has lived next to the vacant property for more than 30 years. "I am going to leave this pole with you, so you can start knocking down this building brick by brick."

The building, not much more than a skeleton of concrete and iron rods, used to be a two-story business office more than 75 years ago, according to Ostempowski, but after the railroad was no longer a viable part of the village, the building was no longer useful.

"I have found needles in there, used condoms, beer bottles . . . you name it," she said. "The other day I saw 13- or 14-year-old girls going in there with boys."

While Ostempowski said she has made numerous attempts to prevent children from entering the vacant property, she feels her hands are tied since she cannot physically remove them.

"I have given you sufficient time to deal with this building," she told the Village Board. "Let me go on record as saying, do something to get this building out of here, knock it down or whatever, or I am going to sue the Village of Sloan."

Mayor Leonard Szymanski is keenly aware of the dilapidated building and vowed to resolve the situation to the best of his ability.

"Linda, I am going to try, trust me," Szymanski said. Later he noted that the building was up for demolition during the previous administration but would not come down easily because of the reinforced metal rods holding it together.

Szymanski said Brownfield Redevelopment and Environmental Protection Agency assessed the building's condition earlier this month and the village is trying to work with the agency to finally get rid of the decrepit structure.

"Hopefully, they can do something," Szymanski said. "[If not,] we'll write grants, we'll do something to demolish it or get rid of it."

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