by Mitchell Kirk
The Logansport building commissioner is working with an engineering firm to establish the future of three connected buildings on North Sixth Street after part of one of them had to be demolished last month.
The east portion of the building at 208 N. Sixth St. was torn down April 20 after the northeast corner of the building collapsed two days earlier caused by what Logansport Building Commissioner Bill Drinkwine said was rain deterioration.
The vacant building, formerly La Rosita Restaurant, is owned by Manuel and Reinalda Loeza of Lombard, Ill. However, it is also connected to American Family Insurance — Kevin J. Crook Agency, Inc. and a former beauty shop that is now empty.
Drinkwine said he’s been working with Silver Creek Engineering Inc., an engineering firm out of Indianapolis, to determine how to address the future of the buildings.
Silver Creek has prepared a report containing three proposals. One entails reconstructing the building back to its 1938 addition level while another included reconstructing it back to its 1926 level, which would essentially call for taking off the third floor, Drinkwine said. The third option calls for a complete demolition.
“We’re trying to work through the best method and the best option for the building as well as for the city and the taxpayers,” Drinkwine said. The city will likely be taking on the brunt of the costs because the Loezas do not have insurance on the building.
Drinkwine said the fact the three buildings were connected posed concerns.
“One of the major concerns or events is the reciprocal event that that building being there or not being there is going to have on the adjoining properties that it’s attached to,” he said. “Right now, with 208 N. Sixth St., we would have to go in and internally build stabilization walls inside the building on all three levels to stabilize the building even to restore it ... Keep in mind any of those buildings were built to be together, not to be standing alone.”
Kevin Crook of American Family Insurance - Kevin J. Crook Agency Inc. declined to comment other than to confirm he’s been working with Drinkwine as the project goes forward. Matthew Owen of Silver Creek Engineering declined to comment until receiving permission from Drinkwine.
Drinkwine said he will continue to work with the engineering firm to determine the best option. He said he plans to present an answer at the Logansport Board of Public Works & Safety meeting June 5.
Mitchell Kirk is a staff reporter at the Pharos-Tribune. He can be reached at 574-732-5130 or firstname.lastname@example.org.