Officials say W. Main Street property will be razed first, then S. Court Street property
By Ethan Colbert
A contractor is expected to start to demolish two buildings in downtown Bowling Green within a matter of days, according to officials with the City of Bowling Green.
During Monday night’s General Committee Meeting of the city’s Board of Aldermen, officials voted 5-0 in favor of hiring Roberts Demolition and Roll-Off, of Center, Mo. to demolish the two structures.
The buildings, which formerly housed the Bowling Green Gas Company and Bowling Green Florist, are being torn down after engineers contracted by city deemed the structures to be unsafe and beyond repair.
The city will pay for the demolition of both properties — 202 West Main Street and 16 S. Court Street — and then pass on the expense of the demolition to the property’s owners through placing a lien on the property. City of Bowling Green’s Code Enforcement officer Mel Orf informed the City of Bowling Green’s Board of Aldermen that he had been advised by the city’s legal counsel that city would have grounds to sue the property owners in county’s civil courts, should the city’s leaders desire it.
The cost to raze the South Court Street property will cost $35,000, excluding the cost of removing the rubble from the property.
The cost to raze the West Main Street property is expected to top $135,000 as the property has tested positive for asbestos, according to City of Bowling Green Mayor Don Hunter.
During the meeting, Ward II Alderman Mark Bair lamented that the city’s taxpayers were likely going to be footing the bill for the demolition for the foreseeable future.
Bair would later move to reject all of the bids received including a bid from Bricker Excavating, of Quincy, Illinois, and an incomplete bid that was received from Ledford Crane, LLC, of Bowling Green.
Bair’s motion would die for lack for a second.
“We are opening a can of worms for every other building in Bowling Green, if we do this,” Bair said during the meeting on Monday night.
Other city officials agreed that the city’s residents and area taxpayers were put in an unfair position, but that steps towards demolishing the properties needed to be taken.
“I think it is a blight on the city,” Janice Robinson said. Robinson represents the city’s First Ward, which encompasses much of the city’s northeastern region. “I think that kicking the can down the road is not a smart thing to do either, because if someone gets hurt by the building then we would never forgive ourselves.”
In an interview following the meeting, Orf said the West Main Street property is likely to be demolished first. He also said that unlike when crews razed two other downtown buildings on South Court Street, the West Main Street property would likely be demolished by hand with demolition crews starting from the third-floor and working their way down.
While crews are demolishing the two structures, City Administrator Barb Allison said motorists can expect portions of the 200-block of West Main Street and the first block of South Court Street to be closed to all traffic.
“West Main Street will be closed at least to the alleyway,” Allison said.
Once the West Main Street property is demolished, both Allison and Orf said they expected crews from Roberts Demolition and Roll-Off to begin work tearing down South Court Street property.
“Right now, the florist property poses the most danger to the general public,” Allison said in her interview with the Times. The city administrator said she does not believe there will be much of a delay between one building being demolished and the other property being demolished.
“I really think that they will be taken down almost back-to-back,” Allison said.
While both Orf and Allison vocalized that no demolition timeline had been set, Ward III Alderman Kim Luebrecht said she was optimistic that the city’s residents would see progress at the site within 30 to 60 days.
According to city officials, the first sign of progress towards demolition will likely be the installation of a 6-8 foot fence enclosing the property.
City officials say they will likely have more updates regarding a demolition timeline at this month’s Board of Aldermen meeting, which is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. on Monday, November 20 in City Hall.