As of Tuesday, July 10, 2012
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Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard learns how to operate an excavator from an employee of Oxford Construction Company Tuesday. Hubbard knocked the first bricks off the front facade of the former hotel.
ALBANY, Ga. -- With two tons of power at her fingertips, Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard took a sizable chunk out of the brick facade of the former Heritage House hotel Tuesday.
While Hubbard's photo op Tuesday morning was largely symbolic, the excavators that followed her weren't; tearing half of the building down by noon.
After climbing down off the piece of heavy equipment, Hubbard was still beaming with post-demolition euphoria.
"I'm just elated," Hubbard said. "All of the talk is over. After years of legal battles and delays we're finally getting over the hump...We're making way for progress."
While Oxford Construction Company owns the former hotel property and two pieces of adjacent blighted property, the company has agreed to sell the parcels back to the city of Albany once the demolition work is complete and all of the structures are razed.
Oxford has worked for the last month to rid the massive West Oglethorpe structure of asbestos and other environmental contaminants. Tuesday, work began in earnest of bring the building that once played host to John Kennedy and Hank Williams Jr. to the ground.