Both structures were damaged by fire two years ago and owners have been unable to repair them

The City of Taft took possession of two adjacent buildings on the 300 block of Main Street after the property owners donated them to the City.

Both were donated by their out-of-town owners.

The buildings, at 308 and 312 Main Street, were heavily damaged by fire in August of 2016 and the owners don't have the money to fix or demolish them.

"City Code Enforcement has been working with the owners of 308 and 312 Main Street on compliance issues since the building burnt well over a year ago," City Clerk Yvette Mayfield wrote in a staff report to the City Council. "The buildings are connected by a common wall and repair and/or demolition will affect both properties. Both property owners have expressed that they lack the resources to repair, or demolish the structures and have offered to donate the properties to the City at no cost, as long as the City covers the cost of the transfer of title and accepts the properties in the as-is condition."

City Manager Craig Jones said it works to the City's advantage.

Now the City can demolish the structures and make the land available for commercial development instead of going through the lengthy process of abatement and then placing liens on the property and eventually taking possession of them, a process that could take several years.

Both structures have become attractive nuisances and are used by transients, Jones said, and city workers have found evidence of cooking or warming fires in them.

The properties are also adjacent to a vacant plot of land at 300 Main where the West Side Recreation and Park District's recreation center once stood that the city is interested in obtaining.
That building was destroyed by a fire in 2007 and has been vacant ever since.

That property was later deeded by the Recreation District to the Greater Taft Economic Development Agency.