Crumbling Riverside hospital seen as broken promise in Trenton

It's more than an empty building, the old Riverside Hospital is a danger to children and first responders.

And many see it as a broken promise.

Fix it up, clean it up or tear it down,  that's the ultimatum the city of Trenton gave the owner of Riverside hospital - an eyesore on the riverfront and a bane to neighbors

It's been abandoned for more than a decade and left open to the elements, scrappers and thrill seekers.

"The hospital was seen as a for site ghost watching," said Trenton Police Chief Steve Voss.

"It's on some type of blog as a haunted place so people like to come in here," said Jim Wagner, the Trenton city administrator. 

"Over the past three years our records indicate we've been out there 57 times," Voss said.

FOX 2: Is this killing property values?

"We believe so, yes," said Robert Johnson, who lives nearby.

Neighbors say it's been an eyesore for years and the city cannot move fast enough to something about it.

"It looks like a bombed-out neighborhood right now," said Bill Rich, who lives near the building. "they demolished the power house next door. They've made some progress with it but they didn't follow through with it. 

"So right now it looks partially dilapidated and falling apart."

After petitions from neighbors and racking up code violations, the owner Dr. Iqbal Nasir was called to the carpet.

His reps faced the Dangerous Building Hearing Board which will decide if the two rear buildings of the hospital should keep standing.

The owner plans to turn it into an assisted living facility. He also applied for state help to make it happen - but that was three years ago.

"It's funny because today the state of Michigan called and wanted to know if the project here - the hospital - was finished," Wagner said. "And where the report was. Coincidence, today that happens. 

"And I said the project has not even been started."

The owner's lawyer, Hala Mokdad spoke at a city meeting Thursday.

"We still have intent to move forward with the intended use of the building," Mokdad said.

The owner's reps say Nasir invested more than $800,000 in the property since buying it 2010 as well as getting rid of lead and asbestos and putting up a fence to keep people out. 

All of that despite being held up by red tape on the city and state level, they say.

"There has been more work, more investment in this property than any ...," Mokdad said. "It's been left vacant for more than 10 years."

Even so, Trenton's building official says the buildings in question are in horrible shape and something has to be done as soon as possible.

"Promises have been made and not kept," Wagner said. "I can't for the life of me, understand why something isn't being done here."

The dangerous building board will have five days to decide whether the owner will have to to fix it up or it should be torn down.

Nasir can appeal if the board decides the latter. 
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