Jefferson City building continues to collapse, city wants action

3 months 3 weeks 23 hours ago Tuesday, September 25 2018 Sep 25, 2018 Tuesday, September 25, 2018 2:42:00 PM CDT September 25, 2018 in News
By: Alex Arger, KOMU 8 Reporter
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JEFFERSON CITY - A historic building in Jefferson City continues to collapse, with another piece breaking off Monday morning. 

The newest piece to come down is from above the already large hole in the building at 200 E. High Street. The wall facing Madison Street initially collapsed in June, but there has been no progress in any demolition or restoration plans.

The owner of 200 E. High St. planned to demolish the building, but now, he and the owners of the adjacent buildings are in negotiations. The three buildings share walls, so if one person decides to demolish, the others will mostly like have to, too.

"The longer it's open, the more it will deteriorate," Larry Burkhardt, Jefferson City's Building Official, said. "Buildings aren't designed to be open to the elements like that."

Burkhardt said the city doesn't make buildings like this anymore because of updated code. He said the buildings all used a "very water-soluble mortar" that doesn't hold well. Because these buildings are more than 100 years old, the mortar can't hold, making it dangerous in the future for the other two structures, according to Burkhardt.

He added if the three owners come to an agreement sooner rather than later, the buildings could possibly still stand if necessary structural work is done.

The area is currently blocked off by a barricade and construction fence. Burkhardt said the area is very dangerous, and the public should not go near it.

"People will do foolish things because they don't fully understand the seriousness of this," Burkhardt said. "If it falls, it's brittle. It won't give any warning that it's just going to go."

Madison St. is also under construction. That, plus the building barricade, has caused a nuisance for some residents.

"They need to do something," Tyler Young said. "Either control it and let it fall, or fix it. It's blocking off half the street and making the construction harder."

Young said he saw a piece of the building fall last month. He said though it seems dangerous, he would like to see the city keep the building's historic look.

Another resident said the crumbling building was in the way, and it's causing a nuisance to get around town. Rhonda Johnson said the city should work to repair it now so that the city can keep another part of its history.

Burkhardt said he hopes the city gets a verdict from the owners soon.

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