The People's Tribune

Bowling Green Board Opts To Demolish Two Dilapidated Buildings Near Square

It’s taken a couple of months debating the merits of taking down two buildings near the square that are in danger of collapse, but the Bowling Green Board of Aldermen decided to take action at a special meeting last night (Monday, Nov. 6).

The buildings are located at the corner of Main and Court Streets and at 16 South Court Street. The block of Court Street between Main and Champ Clark Drive had to be closed until a decision was made to ensure public safety.

Mel Orf, the city’s building inspector, noted the problems at the three-story brick building at the corner of Main and Court Streets have been known for some time. He pointed out the building’s owner, Gary Rahmeyer, was informed of the structural problems but did not take corrective measures.

McClure Engineering recommended the city close the street after going through the property on Sept. 11. While it was determined the buildings didn’t appear to be in danger of immediate collapse, it was determined the properties were beyond salvation.

The other two-story property is locally known as the former gas company and is owned by William Butler and Conita Butler.

Every board member in attendance at last night’s special meeting agreed they were not happy about the situation, particularly with the Rahmeyer property.

The city put the demolition of both buildings out for bid recently. They also attempted to work with the Pike County Commission in having all or a portion of the Annex taken down to help with costs. Commissioners decided in a recent 2-1 vote to rehabilitate their property.

Alderman Mark Bair started the conversation at the meeting by suggesting the demolition be postponed a year for the city to seek grant support.

City Administrator Barb Allison noted that she had made numerous phone calls to officials with the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments and the answers painted a grim picture. The city was awarded a demolition grant to take down 15 residential and one commercial property just eight years ago and it took about three years to conduct all of the paperwork, studies, bidding process, etc., that was involved. She further pointed out that one official said it was unlikely the city would be awarded a grant until 10 years after receiving one. Allison noted that she wasn’t saying that pursing a grant wasn’t an option but wanted to be realistic about the timeline that could be involved.

Mayor Don Hunter spoke out about the need to get the project done.

“We need to get that street open,” he remarked. “It’s not going to get any cheaper,” he added.

Bair and Janice Robinson each pointed out they hated to see Bowling Green taxpayers have to foot the bill.

Hunter said everyone agrees about that but dragging the project out will only make matters worse.

Alderman Mike Pugh agreed.

“I think we need to get it down. It’s never going to get cheaper or safer.”

Robinson offered that she was not happy with the situation or the county’s decision not to work with the city. She added the area looks terrible and must be addressed.

Bair pointed out that he’s worried that doing the project will “open a can of worms” with other buildings in the city.

Hunter pointed out there is a legal process when it comes to recouping expenses from the building owners. He added the city’s attorney, Jim Burlison, is already looking into that aspect.

Alderman Craig Burnett asked if the city could start looking into ways to preventing this from happening again.

Orf and Hunter each indicated the city’s hands are often tied in these matters. While the city can have buildings inspected and deem them unsafe, the city has very little ability to force building owners to take corrective measures.

“All we can do is look forward,” Hunter said.

Bair said he also felt the bids were too high. He made a motion to reject all of the bids that had been tendered and rebid the project. The motion died for lack of a second.

Kim Luebrecht noted it was sad the city had to spend the money but made the motion to move forward with the demolition of both buildings, which was seconded by Robinson. Luebrecht, Robinson, Pugh and Burnett voted in favor. Bair voted against. Alderman Terry Burris was absent.

Luebrecht further moved to accept the bid from Roberts Demolition out of Center for $170,000. All members present voted in favor.

Bricker Excavating out of Quincy, Ill., submitted the only other bid the city could consider for $169,995.

Comments are closed

Text Description

Text Description

Text Description

Log in | 2017 The People's Tribune