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July 15, 2013

Keeping an eye on Sixth St.

Building commissioner concerned about likely taxpayer burden

The physical and economic fate of three adjoining buildings on the 200 block of South Sixth Street continues to hang in the balance as Logansport officials explore how to remedy a situation that was caused by one building's partial collapse earlier this year.

The east portion of the building at 208 S. Sixth St. was torn down in April after its northeast corner collapsed two days earlier. As it is a shared structure with 210 and 214 S. Sixth St., which also have structural problems of their own, Logansport Building Commissioner Bill Drinkwine said whatever is done to 208 will have "consequential effects" on the other two and may come as a burden to taxpayers.

The building at 208 is vacant and owned by Manuel and Reinalda Loeza of Lombard, Ill. According to Drinkwine, the Loezas submitted an engineering report in January that was required after the city issued an unsafe building notice on the property in December. They were unable to make the repairs outlined in the report.

An emergency partial demolition was required in April after the east portion of the building collapsed. The owners were unable to pay for that as well, so a lien has been placed on the property for more than $50,000.

Shortly after the demolition, the city enlisted the assistance of Silver Creek Engineering, Indianapolis. The company provided three recommendations on how to address the properties.

One option suggests constructing shear walls, which are built perpendicular to existing walls and tie into them, to stabilize 208 and repairing the roof at a cost estimate of $58,000.

Another calls for demolishing the third story of 208, converting its floor to a roof and constructing shear walls throughout the building to stabilize it for an estimate of $67,100. The third option offers demolishing 208 and stabilizing the adjoining buildings for an estimate of $75,200.

Drinkwine recently invited all of the property owners to a meeting to discuss the options. The Loezas did not attend, but Kevin J. Crook, owner of American Family Insurance-Kevin J. Crook Agency Inc. at 214 S. Sixth St. and Virginia Cooke, owner of 210 S. Sixth St., did attend. While the discussion was amicable, Drinkwine said, the group could not come to a decision.

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