City gets grant to demolish local nursing home building abandoned 20 years ago

Updated: May. 13, 2021 at 6:40 PM CDT
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GATESVILLE, Texas (KWTX)-- The City of Gatesville has been approved for a grant through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to remove asbestos from and then demolish a 1960s building near downtown.

The building on Osage Road, which has been abandoned for 20 years, was once a nursing home called The Rotunda.

According to the city the building became property of the City of Gatesville after the owners defaulted on the property taxes.

The city in 2014 and 2015 paid about $250,000 to abate the asbestos and demolish two wings of the building.

Gatesville City Manager William Parry said it would cost about the same amount for the demolition and abatement of the rest of the building.

The city has been applying for a Brownfields Cleanup Grant from the EPA for multiple years and was finally approved for it Tuesday.

Under the terms of the grant the federal government will provide 80% of the cost of cleanup and demolition, which is $183,409, and the City of Gatesville will pay the remaining 20% either in the form of money or services.

“The city could have paid for this project,” said Parry.

“But if there are federal funds out there that we can access then it is incumbent upon us to try and get that.”

Parry estimates the building could be demolished within a year.

The building stands within a block of the Gatesville Elementary School and the Boys and Girls Club.

Parry said that proximity is especially concerning since police have severally found teenagers engaging in illegal activity in the abandoned building.

However, he said the city plans to leverage the location and proximity by building a new police station and city hall building on the site where The Rotunda now stands.

“[Gatesville police are] in a 61-year-old facility that’s undersized for their needs and city hall is in a building that was built in 1938. So, its 83 years old. It does not meet code and it’s starting to fall apart,” Parry said.

In the interim, while the city works on plans for the new police department and city hall building, they have plans to put a community garden at the site.

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