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Dawahare family says it can’t afford Neon work

Fleming-Neon city officials continue to be surprised that the owners of two dilapidated buildings still refuse to tear them down.

At issue are old Main Street buildings owned by the Letcher County Library Board and the Dawahare family that got its start in Letcher County.

The old library building was part of an exchange for a city-owned lot that is now the site for the new Fleming-Neon library. Terms of the arrangement between the city and the library board called for the exchange of an empty lot for an empty lot, but the board has taken no action to demolish the old library building.

Mayor Susie Polis told the Fleming- Neon City Council at its November meeting that she would contact library board representatives again and ask them to expedite the demolition. She said she has received no reply to several earlier inquiries about the matter.

Councilman Tom Haynes said the arrangement to exchange an empty lot for an empty lot was undertaken so that children attending Fleming-Neon Middle School can use the library without crossing Main Street. Councilman Trey Quillen added that the county library board was supposed to have the funding in place to tear the old building down when the agreement was made. Haynes said it cost the city in excess of $38,000 to clear the old Hazen Building off the site that is now home to the library.

The council also discussed the old Dawahare’s Department Store building, the site of the first of what would become a 31-store chain of Dawahare’s stores before the family- owned company went bankrupt in 2008. Mayor Polis said the Dawahare’s building is in very poor shape. She said the Dawahare family insures the building, because it recently had ivy removed off the back of the structure to meet coverage requirements.

Polis said that while it is good that the company has insurance, the building is dangerous and an eyesore and needs to be torn down. She said that in her last conversation with a representative of the Dawahare family she was told the company could not afford to pay to have the building demolished.

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