After months of waiting, demolition of the old Maryland Hotel (Conklin Hotel) in downtown Hannibal has begun. The process officially started Monday morning.
“We’re glad to be started,” said Ron Bricker, project coordinator with Bricker Excavating/Demolition, which purchased the building last fall.
After purchasing the property in November, Bricker was hopeful the “disassembly” of the building could have began long before the end of 2012. However, the relocation of phone lines and the cutting of “red tape” slowed the process to a snail’s pace. According to Bricker, Monday (March 18) was the first day that the Department of Natural Resources would allow actual demolition to begin.
Unlike the full-scale demolition that took place when the old YMCA was brought down last year, what will happen at 314-16-18 Broadway could be described as a surgical approach.
“We don’t want it to be haphazard, especially with everything located as close as it is (to city hall). You’ve got to be very careful how you do it,” said Bricker.
Workers were focusing their attention on the top story Monday.
“They’re working on the floors so they can get the structure ready to pull in,” said Bricker. “That’s the plan right now, for it (roof) to fall through the building inside. Then they’ll haul it out and put it in the dumpsters.”
Even before arriving on site Monday, Bricker could tell that company personnel were already hard at work.
“I’ve had calls there’s piles of this and piles of that,” he said.
Assembled on the sidewalk in front of the old hotel Monday afternoon were bathtubs, piping, steam radiators and an assortment of aluminum strips.
While no major headaches were encountered on Day 1 of the project, Bricker did report that water has seeped into the basement, making that area a “mess” in which to work.
The demolition process could take from 30 to 60 days, estimated Bricker.
“It’s just time consuming because you don’t want to be like a bull in a china closet and have everything fall. We want to be in control of everything that’s happening,” he said.
The company still has no firm plans for the site once the structure is removed.
“We’re still up in the air as far as putting it into green space or possibly looking to see if somebody is interested as far as development and putting a building back up,” said Bricker. “Right now it looks like it will be green space, or it might end up being a parking lot. We don’t know yet. Either way it will complement the downtown area. It won’t be an eyesore.”