Former nursing home prepared for demolition

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Jul 30, 2014 - 03:18 PM

Photo: Slated for demolition, the old Horn Harbor Nursing Home sits dilapidated in wooded surroundings on Sand Bank Road in New Point. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Slated for demolition, the old Horn Harbor Nursing Home sits dilapidated in wooded surroundings on Sand Bank Road in New Point. Photo by Sherry Hamilton

Photo: Ethel Owens, founder and original director of Horn Harbor Nursing Home in Mathews. File photo

Ethel Owens, founder and original director of Horn Harbor Nursing Home in Mathews. File photo

The old Horn Harbor Nursing Home in New Point is a sad sight these days. Once considered a much-needed and welcome addition to Mathews County, with 77 beds at its peak, the vine-covered structure now sits with windows and doors broken out, portions of the roof caving in, and interior walls covered in graffiti.

Owner Mark Byrd of Sand Bank said the building had been in that condition since long before he purchased it three years ago, and that local residents had complained to him that young people “seem to wander over there” so last fall he applied for a demolition permit. When the work didn’t proceed fast enough, someone complained to the county, and building inspector Jamie Wilks told Byrd he had to either repair it, board it up to prevent entry, or take it down.

“It’s an unsafe structure,” said Wilks. “It’s falling to pieces, and it’s unfit for human occupancy.”

While the county doesn’t go around looking for buildings that are in disrepair, said Wilks, if someone complains, the state requires that the county investigate. “If warranted, you have to do something about it,” he said.

Last week, operating as B&W Properties LLC (for Byrd and his partner, Ray Wiley), Byrd hired a company to remove asbestos from the building and, with that now complete, is looking ahead to determine the best way to proceed. He said the shingles have to be removed before the block walls can be pushed over and crushed for roadbed material.

Byrd plans to leave the foundation footprint, since he’s considering green townhouses where the building currently stands. A drainfield certified for the aggregate 24+ acre site could handle 15 townhouses and up to five single-family homes, he said, adding that three of the home sites are waterfront lots on the Chesapeake Bay.