Jefferson City leader says time is up for crumbling building

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JEFFERSON CITY - The future of a crumbling Jefferson City building now hangs in the legal balance, as lawsuits have stopped the city from taking further action in the demolition process.

In mid-March, the city gave the owners of two downtown buildings 60 days to either repair or demolish 200 E. High St. and its neighbor, 202 E. High St. The two share a wall.

The owners had until Tuesday to address the city's concerns, but, because of lawsuits, the city has to wait.

Carol and Ruben Wieberg, who own 202 E. High St., don't think their property should be a part of the demolition conversation. 

"The biggest issue in all of this is pretty simple," their attorney, David Bandre, said. "You can tear down 200 E. High, and you can tear it down very carefully brick by brick and leave 202 standing. Our big issue is we believe 202 E. High doesn't need to be torn down."

The police chief ruled in March that 202 E. High St. is a nuisance. The Wiebergs appealed the decision, but the city filed a supplemental brief on Monday explaining the designation.

Bandre's office now has 10 days to file a counter argument. 

The situation was a talking point at the last city council meeting. Council member Carlos Graham was vocal about wanting change to happen quickly.

"It's been some time now, and those two buildings are an eyesore," Graham said. "It's a concern for me. We've put too much money into the downtown area for that to look like that."

The building initially started to collapse in June 2018. The area surrounding the fallen bricks and debris has been blocked off by a fence and barricades since. 

One Jefferson City resident says he thinks the destruction hurts the image of downtown.

"It's just wreckage, a big hole in the wall. This is supposed to be downtown Jeff City. It's supposed to be beautiful down here," Anthony Washington said. 

He said action on the building is past due, and Thomas agrees.

"We, as a city, need to move forward," Thomas said. "We continue to drag it on. Time is up. It's time to make a move now."

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