An 8-foot, barbed-wire fence is being installed around the perimeter of a former hospital that’s expected for asbestos removal in 30 days. That would be the Molly Stark Building in Nimishillen Township, Ohio—a former tuberculosis hospital with a reputation for ghosts.
Many people intrude at nighttime, especially those in search of paranormal activity. The overgrowth and mysteriousness of the 86-year-old building are intriguing and have resulted in an all-time record of 64 arrests so far this year for trespassing.
“It is a safety issue,” said Police of Chief for Stark County Park District Dan George. “We don’t want anybody to get hurt in that building. The building is in poor shape and people are scaling the outside of the building. They’re pulling themselves up on the vines. They’re climbing up the side of the building. They’re actually engaging in some dangerous behavior to get into the building.”
Included in that danger is asbestos, especially when scrap metals are being removed. Asbestos exposure can lead to the fatal mesothelioma cancer. Because of this, asbestos work should not be disturbed.
The $17k fence is being financed through county park funds and Southway Fence Co. of Perry Township is the contractor. The asbestos removal will be almost $125k, being funded through the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency, and done by Cardinal Environmental Services.
“Is the fence going to look good? No,” said George. “I understand that, but we’ve got to do what we have to do. We have to be able to say if anybody would ever, God forbid, get hurt that we’ve done our due diligence.”
“Asbestos must be gutted if the building is to be razed or preserved and developed into a new use,” said Director of Stark County Park District Robert Fonte. The hope is for redevelopment, rather than demolition.
“Our goal is to preserve,” said Fonte. The Molly Stark Hospital Building opened in 1929 and later used for skilled nursing, alcohol and drug treatment, and people with mental disabilities before closing in 1995.
“It’s a beautiful building architecturally and it’s a landmark. If I can save a landmark, I’m going to do what I can to save it,” said local developer and preservationist Steve Coon. He’s looking to restore the marble-trimmed windows, Romanesque columns, and broad arches of the building’s architecture for luxury apartments. This would cost nearly $14M.