It’s been two weeks since the Hannibal City Council approved contracts for work on buildings in the 200 block of Broadway, yet to date nothing has happened. And nothing will until City Attorney James Lemon has a chance to go before Associate Circuit Judge David Mobley in the near future.
“We did not put this through our standard demolition process. If we had, basically once someone has been notified by statute, we can go ahead and begin demolition whenever we’re ready,” said Lemon. “That’s not the process here. What we have here is the Circuit Court has given an order that this gentleman (building owner) is to repair or demolish his building, and gave him 10 days to get started on that. Ten days have well passed. We’re now going to ask the Circuit Court to find him in contempt and ask for a judgment that will allow us to take care of the work and assess the cost to him.”
On Monday, Lemon said he did not yet know when he would next be in court on the matter.
During the July 2 City Council meeting, Lemon noted that this is the first time a common law nuisance approach has been utilized to completion. In the past, “settlements” with property owners have been reached before the process could play itself out.
If the court does give its blessing and work begins, Century Used Brick has been hired to demolish 213 Broadway. Its bid for the project was $5,000.
Before 213 Broadway can be torn down, 211 Broadway must first be stabilized. That work will be performed by River City Restorations, whose bid of $38,584 was accepted by the City Council earlier this month.
It is unclear who will be paying the cost of stabilizing 211 Broadway.
During a special meeting of the city’s Building Commission in June, the owner of 211 Broadway, Cindy Benjamin, was invited to join the city in its legal action against the owner of 213 Broadway, Ron Richter of Pleasant Hill, Mo. At the July 2 City Council meeting it was reported the Benjamin, on the advice of her attorney, would not be teaming with the city.
At the Council’s request, City Manager Jeff LaGarce met recently with Benjamin regarding the upcoming work, and who will be footing the cost. On Monday, LaGarce declined to discuss any specifics regarding their meeting.