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County Board will help with demolition

By Staff | Sep 21, 2014

A common theme was visible at last Tuesday’s Faribault County Board of Commissioners meeting.

Todd Bodem, Blue Earth interim city administrator, and attorney David Frundt appeared before the board to request a 50-50 arrangement in taking care of demolition costs for a building, located at 116 W. Sixth St. in Blue Earth.

According to Bodem, the building, formerly known as Ankeny Radiator Repair, is “in the process of collapsing on itself.”

“Since it’s already in forfeiture status, the city is hoping to work with the county on this,” Bodem said.

The motion was passed and the county board agreed to fund 50 percent of the projected demolition costs. The City of Blue Earth volunteered to find and hire the contractor for the job.

The Board of Commissioners had a few concerns about the demolition process itself.

First of all, because the building was previously a radiator repair shop, the board was concerned that chemicals may have leaked into the ground and contaminated the soil.

Second, they were concerned that taking the building down could compromise the structural integrity of neighboring buildings.

“Neighboring walls sometimes rely on neighboring buildings as well,” commissioner Tom Loveall pointed out. “Once you bring the building down, there are other issues.”

As of last Tuesday, the soil had not yet been tested for contamination, nor had the forfeited building’s structural integrity been studied.

“We will be checking on contamination issues before demolition,” Frundt said.

So far, the city has gotten a quote from a contractor for $9,000. This amount only takes the demolition itself into consideration.

“We haven’t done any structural integrity studies, but we feel that is necessary,” Frundt said.

The cost for a structural integrity study is roughly $2,000 to $3,000. The added cost for a soil contamination inspection will also be taken into consideration.

Once all inspections have been conducted and cleared and the building is finally demolished, the city and county will split the projected $20,000 for the project about $10,000 for each entity.

Another commercial property, the old Outlet Store building on Main Street in Winnebago, has also been deemed a hazard to the community.

“It’s definitely a safety concern to the public at this point,” said Chris Ziegler, Winnebago’s city administrator.

The Board of Commissioners expressed several concerns involving the demolition of this building.

First, the roof of the Outlet Store is higher than each of the neighboring buildings. It is also sandwiched between two buildings, the Hardware Hank store and the Hardware Warehouse building.

Therefore, the two neighboring buildings will need temporary structural support during the demolition and permanent support once the building is gone.

“This one is far more complicated and involved,” said commissioner Greg Young.

The second concern on behalf of the county board is that the cost to remove the building is between $140,000 and $150,000.

“Each year, we set aside about $45,000 in a contingency fund to take care of issues like this,” said Ziegler.

Though $45,000 is not even half of the projected $140,000 to $150,000 it would take to fund the project, the county board agrees that taking down the building is of imminent concern.

“Time is of the essence,”?said Travis Winter, Winnebago’s city engineer. “So if we need to get bids, it’s better to do it sooner rather than later.”

Because the building is basically in disrepair, Ziegler asked the Board of Commissioners whether the city of Winnebago or the county board should be looking for bids.

“In the past, cities have basically had to knock down residential buildings on their own,” said John Thompson, Faribault County auditor/treasurer/ coordinator. “As for commercial businesses, this is something fairly new that we’ve had to deal with.”

The Faribault County Board of Commissioners told Ziegler and Winter that the city of Winnebago should begin looking for demolition and reconstruction bids.