Demolition Plan: Dilapidated former nursing home to be removed

Published on Wednesday, 12 February 2014 22:48 - Written by Kelly Gooch

A building that once housed a nursing home for Tyler’s African American community will be demolished.

The city council on Wednesday authorized the asbestos abatement and demolition bids for the building, located at 815 W. Queen St. The lowest bidder for the asbestos abatement was Clean Air Remediation Services for $27,250, and the lowest bidder for the demolition was Cactus for $40,630, according to a news release.

Tyler police chief Gary Swindle, managing director of public safety, said the building has fallen in disrepair, and there is a potential danger for children and others who could go in the structure.

According to a news release, City Council members are aware that some areas have substandard buildings “which are unfit for human habitation and which create slum and blight conditions,” and “enhancements were made to more aggressively abate problems associated with dilapidated and dangerous substandard structures.”

“We want people to take pride in their homes and neighborhoods,” Mayor Barbara Bass said in a news release. “By removing dilapidated structure we can help that to happen.”

District 2 Councilman Darryl Bowdre, who was recently chosen as mayor pro tem, said he is pleased that the dilapidated structure will be gone, and it will allow that area to be used in the future.

Swindle said via email that the structure will be demolished “as soon as contractors can get on the project.”

Although the structure will be demolished, the significance of the nursing home that was once there is still remembered.

Tyler resident Frinchell Walton Mathis, who served as director of nursing at the nursing home during the 1970s, said Earl Delley founded a nursing home on Claude Street, and later moved the nursing home to 815 West Queen St. She said Delley’s son eventually became the administrator.

She said the nursing home on West Queen Street had a capacity for 30 people but mostly maintained at least 26 to 28 people.

Earl Delley and his son took good care of the people there, she said, and made sure that the patients went to the doctor on time.

She described them as “nice men who were concerned about other people.”

“They really had a heart to help people who couldn’t take care of themselves,” she added.

Former city councilman and Smith County commissioner Andrew Melontree called the nursing home facility “an asset” and “a godsend for this community.”

He said it served a vital purpose, and Earl Delley “sought to provide the need in his community.”

He said the nursing home facility not only provided care for people who needed it but also jobs.

Before there was a nursing home at 815 West Queen St., there also was once a wood yard in that area, according to city directories at the Smith County Historical Society.