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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Fate of Bird Street building up in air

  • The days of a Bird Street building in downtown Hannibal may not be numbered after all.

    After intending to tear down the building at 206 Bird St. that he was recently given by his father, Rodney Harvey is now rethinking his decision.


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  • The days of a Bird Street building in downtown Hannibal may not be numbered after all.
    After intending to tear down the building at 206 Bird St. that he was recently given by his father, Rodney Harvey is now rethinking his decision.
    “Just say I’m in a holding pattern,” said Harvey, who is concerned that negative publicity in regard to the property may prevent him from securing the insurance he needs to cover any damage to adjacent buildings that might occur when - if - he tears the structure down. “I may fix it up so I can sell it. My friends have said when this story gets out that after I fix it up everybody might want to buy it.”
    Wesley Knapp, the executive director and downtown development director for the Downtown Hannibal Development Corporation, hates the thought that the building might be brought down.
    “I don’t want to see it happen,” he said.
    But even Knapp, who became aware of the building over a year ago, agrees that the structure is in serious condition.
    “I actually went to the city because it looked terrible ... not architecturally sound. It looked like it was about to fall down any second. My concern at the time was to see what codes we could use to force them to repair the building so it wouldn’t come down and hurt somebody or damage personal property,” he said.
    If Harvey had not taken action to bring the building down, the city was prepared to, according to Joey Burnham, city building inspector.
    “We had been given permission from the building commission to put it out for bid. It was going to be pretty expensive for the city to go out and put it out for bids and have it torn down. I don’t even want to guess what that would cost. Probably over $10,000, but I can’t say for sure,” he said.
    Burnham has no objection with Harvey doing the demolition work.
    “When an owner wants to tear a building down like that it’s perfectly within their rights to do it as long as they’ve got insurance to cover the buildings beside them,” he said.
    Mike Polster, owner of the Badger Cheese Haus, 204 Bird St., is concerned that Harvey has not followed city ordinances pertaining to the building’s demolition in regard to having the necessary insurance and presenting a plan of action.
    “It needs to come down, but there were some issues not correctly looked at before they started taking it down. That’s what is being looked at now so they’re stopped until they get that straightened out,” he said.
    According to Burnham, no plan of action needs to be presented in cases when a building is being torn down.
    Page 2 of 2 - “As soon as he brings the (insurance) paperwork on in it will be ready to go,” he said of the demolition.
    Because the Polster and Harvey buildings share an adjoining wall, Polster is worried what could happen to his building if the demolition goes bad.
    “Right now it’s in a condition where something has to be done. Because of the adjoining wall it puts me in serious shape, too,” he said.
    Burnham says Harvey’s plan to tear his building down by hand will actually help protect adjacent structures.
    “It’s the safest way you can,” he said. “If you take a machine in there, you are going to have some damage to other buildings, unless you’ve got just a cracker jack on that machine. You’re going to have some roof damage to the next building or some structural damage to the wall, but if you take it down by hand like this guy is wanting to do, it may take a little bit longer to get it down, but you’re not going to have the damage that could be caused by a machine.”
    While Knapp says he got nowhere when he suggested selling the building or giving it away instead of tear it down, Harvey says he is open to finding a buyer for the structure.
    “I don’t want to just give it away,” said Harvey. “I’m an easy person to work with. I probably would have sold that to him (Polster) cheap. I told him right now I’d sell it to him.”
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