UPDATE: The job was pretty much finished the week of April 15.

Don Ayres was walking his dog when he stopped to watch the activity at the abandoned gas station at South Irvine Avenue and Roberts Street.

Ayres said April 2 he was hoping it meant the gas station would be reopened.

Alas, Chris Walker and Mike Linkous of Buckeye Elm Contracting, Worthington, are not fixing up the place – they’re dismantling it. That was OK with Ayres.

“Anything’s better than this,” Ayres said of the current state of the property.

Dan McKinnis of the nearby R&H Thrift Store also was hoping to again have a gas station in the neighborhood. Barring that, “It would be nice to have it tore down,” he said.

Trumbull County received a grant to remove the station that Brookfield Trustee Gary Lees has called an “embarrassment” because of its location on a heavily-traveled road and at the entrance to Ohio from Pennsylvania.

The property has one of the largest tax delinquencies in the township at more than $19,000 owed, although the state of Ohio took over ownership in 2017 and the Trumbull County Land Bank now owns it.

Over at the station’s building, Walker called out, “Take anything you like,” although he added, “I think we got anything of value.”

The building is frozen in time with unsold newspapers from June 5, 2009, and cigarette prices listed at about $5 a pack. A coffee center sits waiting for use with discarded coffeemaker, pot, urn, stir sticks and lids. A boombox radio is covered in dust. There are stacks of changeable copy letters and lottery sheets, and a pair of jeans is draped over the counter.

Walker pulled down the canopy over the gas pumps later in the day and said he expected to pull up the tanks later in the week, but asbestos was found in the building and that will have to be specially removed before the building can be demolished, probably in another week or two.

He added that he didn’t expect there to be much contaminated soil when the tanks are pulled.

“It shouldn’t be a problem,” he said. “Eventually, it would be.”

Once the station is dismantled and the property restored, it will be available for purchase through the land bank.