In October of this year, a massive fire damaged or totally destroyed nearly an entire block of businesses in downtown Martins Ferry. Now, the buildings beyond repair are being torn down.
Aside from the Subway building, the restaurant side of First Ward North, and Z’s Jewelry, all of the buildings damaged in the fire will have to be demolished. What happens after their torn down? It is up to the property owners.
“Other than assisting when asked, it is being privately handled. So, they will either market the property or we will try to do something either through county development or city development,” said Martins Ferry Service Director Chris Cleary.
While demolition is ongoing, Cleary said the roads should be open, but 4th St. is a one-way, only running north, and parking is restricted in the area. He said it should all be done in a few weeks, and drivers should avoid the area if they can.
As far as what businesses will return, he said the city attorney is planning to rebuild, but two Martins Ferry staples Winter’s Hardware and Martin’s Ferry Flower Shop will not.
“We’ve definitely lost two institutions downtown for sure. They’ve been here forever. Winter’s Hardware has been here since I was a kid. It’s going to be a really big hole in the downtown area to fill,” said Cleary.
Again, Cleary said demolition should be completed in a couple of week, and drivers will most likely not see any more road closures.