Asbestos remediation began at the Sands Motel on Monday. Remediation has to be completed before the property can be demolished.
Cathy Cook | El Defensor Chieftain photos

Asbestos remediation began at the Sands Motel on Monday morning.

The City of Socorro condemned the property last summer and will have to pay $134,000 to abate the asbestos in the structure before it can be demolished. The motel is located on California Street, a main thoroughfare through town and sometimes people seek shelter in the vacant buildings. There are still beds and mattresses in some of the vacant rooms, which are being removed as part of the property cleanup.

Workers forcing doors open.

A certified hazardous waste contractor had to be contracted to remediate the asbestos, which will have to go to a hazardous waste landfill. City Administrator Donald Monette told the City Council he believes it may take a week for the asbestos remediation.

“$134,000 to dispose of this, more than we’re ever going to get for the land,” said City Councilor Gordy Hicks, who was acting as Mayor Pro Temp during Monday’s City Council meeting. “I’ve had a lot of people say, why did we drag our feet on this? That’s why, because we have to pay that $130,000 up front. Can we get some grants for it? Maybe.”

Hicks said cleaning up the site is worth the financial cost.

The city administration plans to place a lien against the property in an estimated $180,000 to $200,000 range to recoup expenses after the property is cleaned up, according to previous coverage.