Pharos-Tribune

Local News

April 22, 2013

Demolition puts strain on city’s finances

As another city building comes crumbling down, city officials are looking at ways to step up inspections and maintain the downtown area.

After the demolition of the building at 208 N. Sixth St., Building Commissioner Bill Drinkwine said he’s working with the city administration to establish a regular inspection schedule for the privately-owned properties. Because the building owners often aren’t able to manage their properties, each time a building has to be unexpectedly demolished, the city suffers financially, according to Community Development Director Chris Armstrong.

With 100- and 125-year-old buildings dotting the downtown area, Drinkwine said many could have structural problems in the future, especially if they’re vacated and not maintained by the property owners.

“They’re probably the most suspect to cause problems,” Drinkwine said.

The historic Greensfelder building at 313 E. Market St. collapsed Jan. 30 and was demolished after crews found that they could not stabilize the building. A two-story abandoned building at 212 Sixth St. collapsed Nov. 22, 2012, after a large fire.  

Drinkwine said they don’t have a regular building inspection schedule for the older properties, but with the recent building collapses, they’re planning to inspect them in the future.

“We have talked within the administration about setting up some inspections for the large buildings,” Drinkwine said.  

The problem, Drinkwine said, is that the buildings are privately owned, meaning that the owners and not the city are responsible for the property maintenance.

“The only thing the city can do is inspect and cite for violations,” Drinkwine said.  

Because of the private ownership, Armstrong said the city isn’t to be blamed for the need to demolish these buildings.

“I know a lot of people want to blame this administration because we’re just tearing things down,” Armstrong said. “But this has been years of neglect and we can’t be blamed for this.”

In fact, Armstrong said the city has run out of demolition money after the building collapses caused them to tear down more buildings than intended.

“It’s very costly,” Armstrong said. “It takes a lot of our labor away from things we intended on doing.”

With many privately-owned buildings, Drinkwine said the city will put a lien — a type of interest put in place to secure payment — on the house while they wait for the owner to pay. However, the owners of the collapsed properties often aren’t able to make payment, he said.

“A lot of times it just sits with a lien on it,” Drinkwine said.

If the owners do not pay, the city can pursue legal action to get properties or other assets from the owners, but often doesn’t get the money back, Drinkwine said.

Drinkwine said he had spoken to Manuel and Reinalda Loeza of Lombard, Ill., the owners of the building at 208 N. Sixth St., and they said they did not have the means to pay for the demolition.

“They have no interest in the building whatsoever,” Drinkwine said.

The building was set to be partially demolished Friday, but they delayed the demolition because of the weather. The top two stories were torn down Saturday and the rest is set to be demolished today. That’s in order to further stabilize the building, Drinkwine said.

As the city foots the bill for the demolition, that means that it’ll have to wait to tear down the rest of the condemned homes on their list to be demolished, Armstrong said.

“Unless we can get some money from someplace else, than that list just remains on hold,” Armstrong said.

The demolition of the downtown buildings also affects the area, according to Becki Harris, executive director of Logan’s Landing.

“When a building crumbles to the ground, it affects the appearance of the entire neighborhood,” Harris said.

George Franklin, code enforcement officer, said he also believes the city will suffer if more buildings are demolished.

“If something doesn’t change we’re going to end up with a downtown that’s not more than empty lots,” Franklin said.  

Caitlin Huston is a staff reporter of the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at 574-732-5148 or caitlin.huston@pharostribune.com.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Pharos-Tribune eEdition, or our print edition

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Cass Co. jobless rate falls again Cass County unemployment fell once again to 5.6 percent, state workforce data indicates, mirroring state trends of a growing workforce and what one economist suggests is growth in full-time jobs. State unemployment data released this week indicates t

    August 22, 2014

  • Police blotter: Aug. 22 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    August 22, 2014

  • 5-year-old boy's bathtub death under investigation MONTICELLO (AP) — State police say an investigation is underway into the death of a 5-year-old northern Indiana boy who reportedly was found not breathing in a bathtub. Sgt. Kim Riley says Ian Davidson died Thursday at an Indianapolis hospital, where

    August 22, 2014

  • NWS-PT082114 WWII Ship 2.jpg Return voyage: Logansport veteran to crew WWII ship A Logansport man and U.S. Navy veteran is getting a chance to sail on a military vessel again.Starting at the end of this month, Rex Mitchell Ashby will spend about three weeks working in the engine room of LST-325, the last fully operational World W

    August 22, 2014 3 Photos

  • AP for free? Yes — for low incomes The U.S. Department of Education awarded $28.4 million dollars Aug. 12 to schools across the nation for Advanced Placement test costs for low-income students.Indiana received just under $500,000 from the Advanced Placement Test Fee Program. That amou

    August 22, 2014

  • Round Barn Festival canceled ROCHESTER — A 44-year-long festival will end its run in downtown Rochester indefinitely, according to the Fulton County Chamber of Commerce. Executive Director Diane Spore and the chamber of commerce’s board of directors met Wednesday to discuss and

    August 22, 2014

  • Twelve Mile farming contractor files counter-suit TWELVE MILE — A local farming contractor has filed a counter-suit against a farming company that accused him of defrauding them of millions of dollars over the course of several crop seasons.A lawyer for Chad Rudicel, the Twelve Mile contractor named

    August 22, 2014

  • Police Blotter: Aug. 21, 2014 Have a tip? Anyone with information on a crime is encouraged to call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS. Information leading to an arrest or conviction could lead to a reward of up to $1,000.

    August 21, 2014

  • Firefighters investigate smoke downtown Firefighters investigate smoke smell downtown

    Firefighters with the Logansport Fire Department responded to a call of a smell of smoke in a downtown office building.

    August 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • NWS-PT082114 Opera House Now.jpg Dreaming the old dreams over DELPHI — “To dream the old dreams over is a luxury divine.”That line from the late local poet James Whitcomb Riley was mentioned several times Wednesday at a celebration in Delphi. Those who quoted the line said it was a fitting description for one o

    August 21, 2014 3 Photos

Featured Ads
More pharostribune.com
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
AP Video
Furry Roommates: Dorms Allowing Cats and Dogs Chase Rice Defends Bro-Country 'Jersey Shore Massacre' Pokes Fun at MTV Series Raw: Wash. Mudslides Close Roads, Trap Motorists DC's Godfather of Go-Go Honored Ukraine Calls Russian Convoy a 'direct Invasion' Girl Meets Her 'one in the World' Match Coal Gas Boom in China Holds Climate Risks Japan Landslide Rescuers Struggle in Heavy Rain Raw: Severe Floods, Fire Wrecks Indiana Homes Endangered Red Wolves Face Uncertain Future Raw: Russian Aid Convoy Arrives in Ukraine Okla. Policeman Accused of Sex Assaults on Duty Dominican Republic Bans Miley Cyrus Concert Raw: Israeli Air Strike in Gaza Raw: Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in Malaysia Attorney: Utah Eatery Had Other Chemical Burn
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Does Indiana need a statewide water management plan and an administrator to implement it?

Yes
No
Unsure
     View Results
eEdition