Petersburg's plan to tear down old Ramada Inn: 'It's a bad look for the city'

Petersburg's plan to tear down old Ramada Inn
Posted at 4:59 PM, Apr 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-28 17:34:59-04

PETERSBURG, Va. -- The City of Petersburg has a 57-page report detailing the more than 140 violations found inside the old Ramada Inn on E. Washington Street.

The building is considered a public nuisance and a hazard with people going in and out of the abandoned structure.

On Wednesday afternoon, city leaders discussed the next steps in getting rid of the eyesore.

"The city plans to proceed with court action and effort to obtain an order to have the owner abate and demolish and in the event that he fails, we are asking that the city be permitted to proceed with the demolition," Mayor Sam Parham said.

Parham and other city leaders hope to get creative about paying for the demolition if building owner Christopher Harrison doe not tear down the hotel. Officials are working on plans to have Meridian Waste Acquisitions, which runs the Tri-Cities Landfill, help with the demolition as an act of community service.

That would require approval from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, which previously forced the closure of the landfill and levied fines against Meridian. The city recently sent a letter to DEQ officials asking for their permission.

"One option that was discussed, which we are seeking support for now, is the possibility that DEQ might accept the provision of this community service as a financial offset for Meridian for the fines imposed recently in their case involving Tri Cities landfill here in Petersburg," Parham said.

CBS 6 reached out to Mr. Harrison and are still waiting on a reply.

Meanwhile, Petersburg leaders say they've got to keep this on the front burner, for safety's sake.

"We have elevator shafts and things in there that are wide open," Parham said. "Graffiti everywhere and we have signs that people are accessing this. It is a nuisance and it's a bad look for the city. We want to protect all of our citizens from that, especially children who may wander into that unsecured facility."