GALLIPOLIS — Work continues in the newest vacant lot located in the 300 block of Second Avenue in downtown Gallipolis — a vacancy that opened as a result of a structural failure and subsequent demolition of two historic buildings earlier this month.
Gallipolis City Manager Randy Finney reported on Monday that, currently, fill-in work is being completed at the site of 354 and 356 Second Avenue across from the Gallipolis City Park where two buildings were demolished prior to the July 4 holiday.
Concern over the structures, that shared a common, internal wall, began after the back wall of 354 Second Avenue partially collapsed during the early morning hours of June 26.
Initially, city officials were hopeful that only the building at 354 Second Avenue would need to be demolished and the attached building could be secured and salvaged.
“Being that the two buildings were joined together by a common wall, the property owner was able to invest some money into securing the existing wall, but the building was structurally unsafe so we had to go ahead and demo both buildings because they wouldn’t be safe standing by themselves,” Finney said.
Thus, after consulting a structural engineer, the city took action and quickly demolished the two building due to the imminent danger the failing structures posed to existing, surrounding property and to the public.
Finney reported that the current fill-in work could be completed within two weeks time, depending upon the weather and other factors and that additional brick work — brick damaged as a result of the demolition — will need to be completed on a neighboring building owned by DLB Associates.
According to Finney, the cost of the demolition will be billed to the property owner with the hope of later reimbursement for the city.
“The property owner wasn’t able to take care of the demolition and we had to move forward because it was an imminent danger to the existing buildings around there and to the residents, so we had to go ahead and demo it ourselves,” Finney said. “We will seek reimbursement for that as we move forward.”
The demolition marks the second blow to the downtown area in a little over a decade as the fire that gutted and destroyed three building that housed Haskins-Tanner Clothiers, the Lynch Agency and the Put-On Shop occurred in 2001.
The city manager reported that the affect of the demolition on the downtown area is a big concern to both himself and other city officials, but he is hopeful that interested buyers will purchase the now vacant land and begin the process of rebuilding the downtown.
“It is a concern to us and the commissioners that we have another vacant area down there in the city,” Finney said. “We are looking to see if we can find somebody who is interested in building down there to try to recover some of this loss that we’ve had.”