The narrow pathway drivers use in order to get to Taco Bell, Starbucks, Verizon and Aaron’s is getting a facelift.
In order to do that, the city of Aberdeen purchased the lots that hosted the homes that used to line the north side of Summit Street. Summit Street is the roadway behind the previously mentioned businesses. There were two purchases, according to Rick Sangder, the city’s public works director. The first purchase was for five “separate but adjoining lots, which included the residences at 1201 Summit St., 1205 Summit St. and 1213 Summit St..” The city paid $100,000 for those lots. The city also made a second purchase of 109 S. Fleet St., which cost the city $35,000.
Sangder explained the reasoning for the purchase, which has led to the demolition of the homes.
“The properties were purchased in anticipation of a future project to address the traffic conditions in the alley behind Starbucks and Aaron’s,” Sangder said. “There has been longstanding issues regarding this alley and accessibility to both Starbucks from South Tyler Street and the traffic signal from South Fleet Street.”
South Fleet Street sits to the east of Aaron’s and heads north and south to Wishkah Boulevard Street. South Tyler Street runs perpendicular to South Fleet Street until it abuts at Summit Street, which sits just north of the businesses in question.
Sangder said the city feels the purchase price, which Sangder said Aberdeen Mayor Pete Schave negotiated, was in the city’s favor.
“It would have gone up significantly if the project was underway and we had to go through a right-of-way (or) imminent domain phase,” Sangder said.
As of Monday afternoon, the plan going forward is to remove the “dilapidated,” homes and clean-up the property, according to Sangder. The city workers “over-excavated” the soft ground north of the alley and replaced with a “good subgrade material in anticipation of the future alley widening project.”
The homes themselves, when they were standing, did not provide idyllic scenery, according to a couple of the nearby businesses.
Kayla Pierog, general manager at Aaron’s, and Megan Yucha, sales manager from Aaron’s, sounded in favor of the removal of the homes and what could lie ahead for the area that surrounds their business.
“I’m happy about it,” Pierog said. “I’m hoping we’ll get parking. We really need some extra parking back there.”
So far, there is no plan to provide supplemental parking to the nearby businesses.
Bryan Matisons, lead man for the city’s project, said the shrubbery removal around the homes started in September. Then, the razing of the homes started sometime between November and December. Mattisons, and another worker on late Monday morning were preparing the remnants of the homes to be hauled away to LeMay Inc., for disposal.
The way Mattisons understands it — and Sangder confirmed — is homeless residents were living inside the homes.
“The three homes (in the first purchase,) were in a very bad state of repair and were being utilized by the unhoused population, despite efforts to keep them boarded up,” Sangder said.
The home at the South Fleet Street address was a “total loss due to a previous fire,” according to Sangder.
“All four of the houses were vacant, unsafe and were continually being broken into,” Sangder said.
The homes’ existence made for a less than clean sight, according to Mattisons.
“The houses were kind of an eyesore before, you seen them?” Mattisons said.
According to Mattisons, the homes that lined the north side of Summit Street were quite large. There was a three-story home and two two-story homes and they all had basements.
The clearing of the homes could lead to the road behind the businesses wider, which would make Pierog and Yucha happy.
“When I show up to work, I see they’re working on it again,” Pierog said. “It was an eyesore. People trashed it. People were breaking into it and sleeping inside. I’m really happy they’re getting rid of (the buildings.) I’m just hoping they do something productive with the space.”
Yucha said she uses Summit Street in order to get to work and that sometimes when two drivers are trying to drive on the road at the same time that it’s “very hard” to get by. And Yucha sometimes drives her husband’s Ford F-150, which makes for an even narrower road.
“The street’s more of an alley,” Yucha said.
Pierog expressed safety concerns for herself and her employees inside Aaron’s.
“We’ll be in the office and we’ll hear people racing down the street,” Pierog said.
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