The process of bringing down a dangerous building on Broadway in Hannibal won't begin until next week at the earliest, according to Building Inspector Joey Burnham, who met with the project's new contractor on Wednesday.
"He said it would definitely be after Christmas before he started the demolition," said Burnham following his meeting with Mike Roberts of Roberts Demolition and Roll-off.
Some preliminary work could begin earlier at 213 Broadway.
"He's got some stuff he wants to look at, and start putting up barricades and stuff like that," said Burnham.
Once the project begins, the alley just west of 213 Broadway that links Broadway and Church Street, will be closed to traffic. The demolition work will also impact parking next to the building that's targeted for demolition.
"They're not supposed to be parking there anyway," said Burnham. "I guess when they moved the barricades to put the dumpster in they didn't put them back up, so we'll have to get them back up."
The demolition of 213 Broadway, which a structural engineer's report earlier this year said is "structurally unsound and in danger of collapse," was due to begin Dec. 3. However, Century Used Brick, which was awarded the demolition contract in early July, did not start the project. On Dec. 6 the city received a letter from the company requesting an additional $6,000 to perform the work that Century's president, Barbara Buck, said is "a lot more involved and costly than our original ($5,000) bid accounted for."
After refusing to pay the additional money, the city issued a noon Tuesday (Dec. 17) deadline to begin work, otherwise the city was prepared to award the job to another contractor and to file suit for breach of contract.
While the City Council did award the project to the next lowest bidder – Roberts – on Tuesday night, it stopped short of authorizing City Attorney James Lemon to pursue legal action. The potential litigation was put on hold until Lemon can investigate Century claims made in a letter he received Tuesday that the city did not provide adequate information regarding the scope of the demolition project.
"The underlying theory of law they're arguing is that we took advantage of them and we should have known that there was no way they could have demolished the building for what they bid it at," said Lemon on Wednesday morning. "Before I respond or advise the city to go forward with litigation, I want to investigate all of the allegations they made and I want to talk to Joey (Burnham) and the various people in the building inspector's office to see what was said or not said."
Lemon estimated he wouldn't have a recommendation for the Council until "the middle of January."
Page 2 of 2 - "I want to talk to everybody. I want to investigate everything they've claimed. Certainly we don't want to unfairly penalize anybody if we failed to tell them something we were obligated to tell them," he said. "I anticipate (it is) unlikely that everything alleged in this (Dec. 17) letter is accurate. I just want to look at it and talk to the people involved."