COMING DOWN: Eric Parton, of Greenwood-based Midwest Maintenance and Construction, uses an excavator to tear down the old Bigfoot gas station and convenience store on Lanier Drive on Tuesday. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
COMING DOWN: Eric Parton, of Greenwood-based Midwest Maintenance and Construction, uses an excavator to tear down the old Bigfoot gas station and convenience store on Lanier Drive on Tuesday. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
The long-vacant gas station at 1927 Lanier Drive has been demolished.

Demolition of the building, which is owned by Columbus-based Mac's Convenience Stores LLC, started after City Building Inspector Mark Johnson sent a letter requesting something be done with the abandoned property. The building has been vacant since October 2003.

Johnson sent a letter April 4, and received a reply about 10 days later. Mac's hired Midwest Maintenance and Construction Co. Inc. of Greenwood to do the demolition.

"These folks have been great to work with. They recognized the problem and just had forgot about it," Johnson said.

Johnson sent letters to property owners after finding an old piece of Indiana law that allowed the city to take action on long-standing abandoned buildings.

"It's always been Indiana Code," Johnson said. "We just came across it."

The goal is to do something with abandoned buildings: Renovate, sell to get a new tenant, or to tear them down.

Mac's is the first owner to take part in the new initiative. Johnson has targeted other sites, including the strip mall at the southeast corner of Clifty Drive and Michigan Road and the former Sonic's building.

He's focusing on the "gateway to Madison," which would address buildings on main roads into the city.

So far, there have been 15 letters sent out, and Johnson has received 10 responses. He's still compiling a list of all the buildings the city can target.

"I haven't been all over town. We're starting out with these and see what we can do," Johnson said.