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It took only three hours yesterday for a longtime Defiance eyesore to come tumbling down, with the help of a myriad of volunteers who gathered at the Perry Street site.
A building that housed part of Defiance Precision Products, which closed in the late 1980s, was dismantled by local construction company owner Bill Webb and his colleagues, who used an excavator and a bulldozer on the building - free of charge.
They were just a few of the people who volunteered to give their time, supplies, and organizational ability to help the city demolish the privately owned structure, using nearly no city funding.
Rebecca Snow, the city's finance director, said yesterday that removing the remaining building - its factory portion had been taken down previously - has long been a goal of city hall.
She credited Mayor Bob Armstrong and a host of area volunteers, including the Northwest Ohio Home Builders Association and Werlor Recycling Center, for making it happen.
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"It is really exciting today," Ms. Snow said. "It's been a long time. Bob was really successful with this.
"Everything is volunteer."
Ms. Snow said Werlor employees have agreed to haul
away bricks from the site, while Beck's Construction is donating fresh soil for the property. Other companies have given trucks for hauling and grass seed for planting.
Additional volunteers are expected to converge at the property on Monday to begin salvaging anything they can from the structure, including steel beams.
Those materials then will be sold in hopes of covering the $1,800 the city spent having asbestos removed from the building last month.
Mr. Webb said yesterday that his family has a rich history in the Defiance area, which is one reason he didn't hesitate to work for free yesterday.
"It's just kind of a service. I volunteered to help," he said.
Once the debris is removed, Ms. Snow said city leaders will make sure there's adequate fencing around the property.
Environmental issues still remain at the site, and Ms. Snow said Defiance officials are hoping to attract a Clean Ohio grant to fund cleanup work, largely that of contaminated soil and remaining cisterns.
She said the building's current owner, GenTek, has been cooperative with the city on the project.
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