Judging from the price on one of the gas pumps, which reads $17.10 for 13 gallons of super unleaded, its clear that this former Marathon station at the corner of Garfield and McDougall hasnt peddled petrol for a while.
Neighbor Yolanda Johnson says the station was a mainstay that eventually became a tire repair joint and finally closed earlier this year. Johnson says station owner Golden Hutcherson is rumored to have died this summer. A Social Security Web site adds credence to that rumor.
In 2002, the sites underground storage tanks were targeted for removal by the state to the estimated tune of $72,000. The property itself was valued at only $10,000 the same year.
When ASS (the Abandoned Structure Squad, for you newcomers) contacted the states Department of Environmental Quality, we were told tank removal is the owners responsibility. State funds will only be used if the owner provides financial records proving he or she doesnt have the money to do so.
Were also told Hutcherson hasnt provided said paperwork. His unclear life status could be a bit of a wrench in the cogs of bureaucratic process. The tanks will continue to be a problem whether theyre full or not. Full tanks can leak gasoline into the soil and contaminate the groundwater. They also pose a fire hazard. And empty tanks are liable to collapse under pressure, a sort of booby trap for snoops like ASS, or anyone who sets foot on the property.
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