The city will seek prosecution for outstanding code violations against the owners of  Bradbury Manor at 74 High St. Councilors voted Dec. 15 to allow the city attorney and code enforcement officer to take the legal action, which includes requesting that a judge allow the building to be demolished.

Codes and Planning Director Bub Fournier said he walked through the building owned by James Constable of Belmont, Massachusetts, to document its condition after long-running complaints from neighbors about its being unsafe and a health hazard. He reported structural damage to walls, floors and the foundation.

Photos he took while walking through the building show wallpaper and flooring chipped away. He described it as a moldy health hazard that may not be repairable. It has little access to water and electricity.

He said the city issued Constable a condemnation notice and ordered the property be demolished, but after 30 days the conditions of the demolition had not been met. Now, the city wants to seek a court order for fines against him and an order to demolish the building.

He said he has never heard of a judge ordering a building to be demolished, but it is possible. If the judge does not issue an order to demolish the building, the city might be able to seek the action through the state’s Dangerous Building Statute.

The structure was built in the 1860s by shipbuilder Jacob Cottrell, according to the Belfast Historical Society and Museum. It became the Bradbury Memorial Hospital in 1922, when Cottrell’s daughter, Alma Bradbury, donated it to Dr. Eugene Tapley.

The 25-bed hospital was out-competed by Waldo County General Hospital in 1960, when it shut down, according to the Historical Society. Then, in 1961, it was sold and reopened as a nursing home until its closure in the late 1990s, and has been vacant ever since.

Councilor Mike Hurley supported waiving the court and attorney's fees against Constable, instead suggesting that the city allow them to use that money to demolish the building.

Councilor Neal Harkness supported the effort to demolish the building. “This building has been an eyesore, a health hazard and an attractive nuisance far too long, and I support moving forward as expeditiously as possible to get this taken care of,” he said.

Councilor Mary Mourtier was reluctant to support demolishing the building through the Dangerous Building Statute because demolition costs would be shifted to the city, despite the ability to lien the property, she said. But she still supported condemning the building.

“We’ve become blind to it, we can’t even see it, even though it’s right in front of us,” Hurley said. “… It’s really a shame.”