December 9, 2010

City Seeking Bids for Debris Removal

After a brief delay to complete the required site inspections under Department of Natural Resources, the cleanup on the Memphis City Square is scheduled to move forward later this month.

Following the completion of an asbestos inspection report by Mid America Environmental and Abatement, the city began soliciting for bids for the cleanup of the south corner of the east side of the city square. Bids are due December 16th at 2:00 p.m. for the job that involves removal of debris from the two collapsed buildings as well as returning the site to a workable lot with replacement of fill dirt.

The city council will hold a special meeting that evening to review the bids in an effort to award a contract and move forward with the process.

The city is working with Continental Western Group, which insured the former Rodgers Jewelry Store, which was destroyed when the neighboring building collapsed.

Both parties are actively pursuing legal action against that building's owner to recover costs of the clean-up as well as other damages.

At the November council meeting, City Attorney April Wilson had indicated it was her opinion that the cost of the clean up could be assessed as a special tax bill to the owner of the 134 S. Market Street property. The city contends that owner is attorney Charles Willis. Willis was listed as the registered agent and the incorporator of Task Management Corporation, which purchased the property during the summer of 2000. Task Management Corporation was dissolved in January of 2001 by the Missouri Secretary of State's office.

The city is currently working with property owners at two other sites on the city square in efforts to remedy situations that had been deemed dangerous structures.

On November 17th, Mayor William Reckenberg, acting as the city Building Commissioner, held hearings on the two sites.

James Parker met with the mayor, city attorney and building inspector Roy Monroe regarding his property at 128 S. Market St.

A report by the building inspector dated September 30th, indicated the back two-thirds of the property had bricks, flooring and roofing material in danger of collapsing at anytime.

Parker testified that he had been actively seeking remedies for the situation, but the cost estimates provided by local contractors for removal or repair far exceeded his available funds.

Reckenberg noted that the property had been deemed a dangerous structure dating back to February. A September 30th order had allowed 30 days for the building to be repaired or demolished.

Following the November 17th hearing, Reckenberg issued an order that if the building is not in compliance with City Code at the end of 30 days, the City will proceed with repairs or demolition and assess a special tax bill on the property.

Monroe indicated at the December 2nd city council meeting that the property owners have notified him of plans to begin demolition of the building.

The second hearing involved the property at 100-102 E. Madison Street.

Property owners David and Jodie Jackson were present for the hearing.

Inspection letters for the property dated September 30th noted building defects and concerns regarding loose bricks and fascia on the front of the east building that is leaning out at the top, creating a concern that the building will fall out into the street and sidewalk area.

Jackson testified that some of the required repairs have been made but noted he was unable to get a cost estimate for the facia repairs as the contractor had indicated the work would not be able to be completed until next spring at the earliest.

With progress reported in several of the issues cited in the inspection letter, Reckenberg elected not to issue an order on the property, but requested the property owners proceed with securing cost estimates for the necessary repairs.

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