The Harford County administration wants to demolish the vacant former Carey Tire Co. building at Main Street and Churchville Road because it has not been used in two years and is beyond repair.
The county bought the half-acre site last year for $466,500 from James F. Knott, a Towson-based developer.
At that time, the county said it would repair the roof and use the cinder-block building for storage.
The cream and brown building was long considered an eyesore. Last winter, the county removed an unsightly roof overhang that extended over the sidewalk and gave the building the look of a backwoods railway station.
"The walls are buckling and the roof is falling apart," said David W. Sewell, the county's facilities and operations chief.
"The only thing holding that place together are long rods that run the full length of the building."
The metal rods are in the walls and pull the building together, he said.
Mr. Sewell told the County Council at a Tuesday morning budget review that it would cost $45,000 to $50,000 to demolish the building.
He said that if the council approves the money, the building could be torn down during the summer. The county also would dig up the basement and fill the site with dirt or approved landfill materials before laying down a black pavement.
The site then perhaps could be used for parking.
Joanne S. Parrott, R-District B, said she would like the county to donate the building to the Fire Department so it could burn it down as part of a training exercise. The county said it would consider her request.
Mr. Sewell said the building is at least 70 years old and may have been part of an "old wagon works," where wooden wheels and wagons were constructed.
Longtime Bel Air residents, such as David Cohen, remember the site as a used-car lot. Mr. Cohen owns Hirsch's Menswear on Main Street, which his father opened in 1923.
George Harrison, the Harford County government spokesman, thinks the building was a Studebaker salesroom after World War II.
Mr. Sewell said the county found trash and old tires inside the building.
"We hauled out two Dumpsters of old tires and another Dumpster of trash," he said. The only thing left in the building is an old boiler, he said.
From the outside, the decaying building appears to be at least two stories tall.
But it's actually one floor, which has rotted through in some places, and a basement, said Mr. Sewell. He did not know the square footage of the building.
The council spent Tuesday scrutinizing budget requests from various departments, including Mr. Sewell's facilities and operations.
The council has until the end of May to ratify a countywide budget for fiscal 1995, which begins July 1.
The various county agencies and departments must justify their budgets to the seven-member council.
The council can trim money from all departments except the school system -- which is the only department to which it can add money.
County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann gave the council her proposed $175 million operating budget on April 1.