Charlotte City Council approved the first reading Monday, Oct. 9 of a resolution to accept MCS Excavating’s bid of $35,000 to demolish the building (known locally as The Piece) located at 108/110 E. Lawrence Avenue. The former Carriage Cleaners building, which became notorious for a meth lab explosion in the second floor apartment, was purchased by community members in 2016 and donated to the City of Charlotte to make way for a pocket park.

City Council will vote on the second reading and adoption of the resolution at its Monday, Oct. 23 meeting. Community Development Director Bryan Myrkle said if approved, work to demolish the property would take place as soon as possible. The project originally planned for a spring 2017 demolition. Contamination from dry cleaning solvents in the basement of the property, however, has slowed the project.

Once the building is demolished, a compacted layer of gravel will fill and cover the property during the winter months. During that time, Myrkle said engineering work will begin in terms of identifying the scope of the next phase of the project.

“Once we put all of the elements together, it becomes a question of whether there is enough money in the current fiscal year to move forward,” Myrkle said. “We should have a pretty good idea going into the budgeting process.”

The City Council approved $60,000 for the project in the 2017-18 fiscal year. Myrkle said the community’s vision for the completed pocket park project is going to take more time and more money to complete.

“I think it’s going to take a year or two to complete,” Myrkle said. “It really depends on the city’s and community’s willingness to follow through on the vision the community had for the park. There is no doubt we are going to need to go out and look for grant donations, in-kind donation, and cash donations. If that doesn’t come to fruition, the scope of the project may be scaled back if there isn’t financial support for the project.”

The Monday, Oct. 23 City Council begins at 7 p.m. on the second floor of City Hall.