For more than three decades, Hayswood Hospital has stood abandoned on a hill overlooking downtown Maysville.
The old hospital has become a magnet for ghost hunters and adventurous kids. But issues with materials once used when it was a medical facility and asbestos used in the structure have complicated any attempts to clean up the property.
But those issues may soon be addressed now that the Hayswood property has been sold, officials said Friday.
The property was purchased by Stitch Up Properties LLC of Brandenburg, according to information from the Mason County Clerk’s office. Brian J. Stitch is listed as one of the officers and a purchase price of $50,000 was disclosed. Calls to Stitch’s phone were not returned by Friday afternoon.
Hayswood was built in the 1920s and renovated several times over the years, the last time in the 1970s. It was left empty in 1983 following the opening of Meadowview Regional Medical Center on Kentucky 9 AA Highway.
The property was originally purchased by Ester Johnson of Classic Properties in 1994 at a public auction for $42,000. Johnson, who had rehabbed the old Maysville High School building into apartments, said at the time she planned to renovate the Hayswood building into high end apartmetns. But funding for the project never came about although Johnson retained ownership.
In 2002, city officials talked about condemning the building and razing the structure, even though it was still under the ownership of Johnson and Classic Properties. At a cost of more than $1 million for asbestos abatement, the plan was abandoned. Later, there was talk of applying for a grant to pay the costs of the abatement but because it remained in private hands that never developed beyond the discussion stage.
In 2013, the property’s unpaid tax bill was sold to Tax Ease Lien Servicing for nearly $6,000 in unpaid property taxes from 2008 and 2009. Johnson, acting as E.D. Haye Inc., asked that the property be offered for auction but later withdrew the request.
The city has fielded complaints from residents of the downtown area about the building for years but has been unable to find a solution for the problem the building posses. Perhaps the latest development will change that, Maysville Mayor David Cartmell said.
“I’m thrilled somebody in the private sector has purchased it,” Cartmell said.
“Anything is better than letting it sit there and deteriorate,” the mayor said. “Every sale brings an opportunity, especially as cheaply as it could be purchased.”
The hospital has earned so much notoriety on the internet among ghost hunters that is draws people who want to explore the abandoned building, Cartmell said. That means police officers spend time that could be better spent keeping people out of the empty, and even dangerous structure and chasing vandals away, he said.
The sale is also good news for people who live in the neighborhood where the hospital is located, Cartmell said. Rehabbing the property, considered an anchor property, should increase their property values, he said.
Maysville City Manager Matt Wallingford also said the purchase is a positive turn for the city.
“Logistically, we will help all we can,” Wallingford said.