Judging from the price on one of the gas pumps, which reads $17.10 for 13 gallons of super unleaded, it’s clear that this former Marathon station at the corner of Garfield and McDougall hasn’t peddled petrol for a while.

Neighbor Yolanda Johnson says the station was a mainstay that eventually became a tire repair joint and finally closed earlier this year. Johnson says station owner Golden Hutcherson is rumored to have died this summer. A Social Security Web site adds credence to that rumor.

In 2002, the site’s underground storage tanks were targeted for removal by the state — to the estimated tune of $72,000. The property itself was valued at only $10,000 the same year.

When ASS (the Abandoned Structure Squad, for you newcomers) contacted the state’s Department of Environmental Quality, we were told tank removal is the owner’s responsibility. State funds will only be used if the owner provides financial records proving he or she doesn’t have the money to do so.

We’re also told Hutcherson hasn’t provided said paperwork. His unclear life status could be a bit of a wrench in the cogs of bureaucratic process. The tanks will continue to be a problem whether they’re full or not. Full tanks can leak gasoline into the soil and contaminate the groundwater. They also pose a fire hazard. And empty tanks are liable to collapse under pressure, a sort of booby trap for snoops like ASS, or anyone who sets foot on the property.

Editor’s note: If you know of an abandoned home you would like to see featured in this spot, send a photo and pertinent information to News Hits, c/o Metro Times, 733 St. Antoine, Detroit, MI 48226 (or e-mail [email protected]).

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