'Sinking Ship' one of four structures that BOS will vote on next week

A tilting apartment building called "The Sinking Ship" may finally go down once and for all.

That building, located on the 400 block of Adams, is one of several Ford City buildings that are targeted for demolition in the latest round of blight removal.

In all, the Kern County Board of Supervisors will be asked next week to order the abatement of the apartment building at 424 Adams Street, a second apartment a short distance away at 306 Madison Street and single family structures at 114 Madison and 303 Madison.

A letter to the board from Chuck Lackey, director of the county engineering, building and permit department, called the 424 Adams structure unsafe because it is "wracked, warped, buckled or settled and is unsafe... ."

Lackey said the property owner, identified as Francisca Alvarez Soto, was notified by mail that the building was a nuisance and given "a reasonable time period" to do something.

Nothing has happened, Lackey wrote.

"The property owner failed to comply with the notice and order," Lackey wrote. " There has been no progress towards repairs and demolition. Inspections of the subject property have revealed the property has continued to deteriorate due to weather conditions, natural dilapidation and deterioration which may result in partial or complete collapse of the structure."

The Adams street property sits in a collection of two-story apartments commonly referred to as "The Village."

The building at 424 Adams is actually one of the newer ones.

Many of the structures date back to the late 1940s when the apartments wer built as "Victory Square," and were used as housing for men returning from military service in WW II and their families.

Over the years, the buildings aged and by the late 1990s the area was referred to as "Heroin Heights."

The same process has been repeated on the other properties

The vacant apartments a block away on the cul-de-sac at the end of Madison have been damaged by fire, foundation settling, dilapidation and vandalism, Lackey told the supervisors.

The 303 Madison house is in simliar condition, and the house at 114 Madison was heavily damaged by fire, Lackey wrote.

If the supervisors approve the abatement notices, the county will then wait an additional 30 days, and, if nothing is done, initiate the demolition of the structures and bill the owners.

The total cost of demolition is estimated at $90,000 for the four structures – $30,000 each for the apartment buildings and $15,000 each for the single-family buildings.