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Fort Smith Directors looking to remove abandoned, asbestos-filled building off Kinkead Ave.

After several complaints, the Fort Smith City Directors are looking into getting rid of an old apartment complex that has been abandoned for several years.

FORT SMITH, Ark. — On Tuesday, April 13, the Fort Smith Board of Directors met to primarily discuss the history and future of an abandoned apartment complex off N. 36th and Kinkead.

"I'm not done with trying to sell this property," said City of Fort Smith FS Code Enforcement Supervisor Shawn Gard.

Gard says the complex has more than 20 building violations and asbestos.

"The trash debris, dead limbs, the garbage, all the building debris out there, drain filling up the pools," said Gard when describing the property.

The city says it wants to tear it down, but before that can happen, they are trying to contact the building owner who lives in Texas.

"I tried to contact them by phone and by email to let them know we are starting unsafe action on this," said Jimmie Deer, City of Fort Smith director of building services.

The city has even issued a warrant for the owner’s arrest since he won't respond to any requests.

 "We actually have this owner in court, because he lives in Texas, we just can't get him served," said Deer.

 Because of this, Fort Smith is looking at other options on how to clean up that area.

"To me, it’s the right and moral thing to do, to enforce those violations, demolish this failed property,” said Director and Vice Mayor Jarred Rego who brought the issue to the attention of the Board of Directors.

 During the meeting, Fort Smith looked at options such as eminent domain or if it can use tax dollars to buy the property.

"It's really tough to get something done without help…on the property tax side," Joshua Harmon, principal broker and owner of Harmon Real Estate Company.

Early May is when Fort Smith will look to vote on if they can get a contract to lightly clean the building.

 By late May or early June, the city hopes to have the building fully demolished.

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