Northside landmark likely to fall victim to
wrecking ball
(Sunday - November 14, 2021) - Those of us who are old enough to remember the sweet aroma of freshly baked Schinderle's bread, or perhaps suffered a morning headache after sampling Furno's wines, are certainly old enough to remember when Oliva's market was the social center of the Northside. It was the place where you not only bought your groceries, but visited with friends and neighbors, and kept up on the latest Northside gossip.

Unfortunately, after serving the community for many decades, Oliva's and most other neighborhood stores fell out of favor; finding themselves in a rapidly changing environment, as shopping became more centralized.  Another major factor was the fact that the small neighborhood stores were at a definite disadvantage in product pricing, unable to compete with the buying power of the large supermarket chains.

Changing times

Neighborhood stores originally came about in the days before most homes had adequate refrigeration, meaning that shopping had to be a daily chore.  A short stroll to the neighborhood store solved that problem.  However, as refrigeration became more common, the neighborhood stores lost their primary advantage.

While there have been several tenants in the building since the market closed, it has been vacant for many years, and is becoming a blight on the neighborhood. The property was deeded to Dickinson County several years ago for non-payment of taxes. After two unsuccessful attempts to sell the property at auction, the County is now offering the property to the City of Iron Mountain.

Property has problems

Iron Mountain's City Manager Jordan Stanchina, in a memo to the City Council, is recommending that the City not take ownership of the property. Stanchina said that demolition costs are estimated to be in excess of $55,000, making the property a less than desirable acquisition. Stanchina said that abatement costs alone will be excessive. As with most buildings of that era, the property contains lead paint, asbestos and mold, all of which will require abatement before demolition actually begins.

Stanchina said he recommends that ownership of the property remain with the County, where it will eventually end up in the County's "Land Bank." The primary function of the Land Bank is to acquire and refurbish abandoned or blighted properties. The Land Bank is often able to obtain grant money to assist in these projects.

The City Council is expected to take action on the matter at it's regular meeting on Monday evening.

(Google Street View photo)