The city of Hannibal has advised two downtown building owners they have less than two months to stabilize their structures. The buildings are located in the 200 block of Broadway.

The city of Hannibal has advised two downtown building owners they have less than two months to stabilize their structures. The buildings are located in the 200 block of Broadway.

According to Joey Burnham, building inspector, letters were sent out late last week to Cindy and Rodney Benjamin, who own 211 Broadway, and George and Ilene Dodge, the owners of 209 Broadway.

“I sent a letter to them with a copy of the engineer’s report and told them we’d help any way we can, but they need to vacate the building until they do the stabilization. They’ve got 45 days to do some stabilization,” he said.

The Vac-Shack was still operating in 209 Broadway as of Monday morning.

According to Burnham, Benjamin’s B&B Cut & Style Hair Care shop has not operated in the 211 Broadway building since the demolition of 213 Broadway started in January of this year.

The city had 213 Broadway removed because it partially collapsed and was structurally unstable. Before 213 Broadway was demolished, two plywood shear walls were added on the second floor of 211 Broadway. In addition, multiple anchors were installed through the west wall of 211 Broadway at the roof and the second floor level.

The stabilization work at 211 Broadway, which cost $38,584, was paid for by the city.

“If the city hadn’t done the stabilization on 211 when we took 213 down, 211 may have went with it. It’s in bad shape. It has been, like 209, for a long time and it’s getting worse and worse,” said Burnham.

The removal of 213 Broadway has not contributed to the problems being experienced at 211 and 209 Broadway.

“That’s from the engineer,” said Burnham. “He looked at the building before and after (213 Broadway’s demolition) and there was no movement whatsoever, but both buildings are in really bad shape – 211 and 209.”

According to the latest engineer’s report, prepared in mid-March of this year by Alan Lukens of Klingner & Associates, “unless adequate framing and repairs are installed (inside 209 Broadway)” the building is “structurally unsound and at risk of collapse.”

As for 211 Broadway, the report noted that its “entire two-story wall is excessively leaning and bowing westward” making it “structurally unsound and at risk of collapse.”

A plan was proposed to stabilize 211 Broadway after 213 Broadway was brought down. It would have entailed putting metal columns at some strategic points along 211 Broadway’s west wall to help stabilize it.

“Once they got this building (213 Broadway) out of the way they realized the wall was leaning so much that that was impossible to do,” said Burnham. “He suggested from there the only thing that could be done to stabilize the building then was to pour new footings out away from the building, build a concrete block wall up to the first floor of 211 and then two concrete buttresses against that and then tie the buildings together to keep them all stable. He (Lukens) said doing that would make them like one building and stabilize them at one time.”

Burnham declined to say how much such a repair would cost. One thing is certain, the cash-strapped city is not planning on paying for the any stabilization at 211 and 209 Broadway.

“Even if we had millions of dollars, it would still not be our responsibility to stabilize her (Benjamin’s) building any more than what we’ve done,” he said.

City personnel have “spent a lot of time recently trying to get a contractor to come in or a company to come in and give us an idea on what it would cost to finish the stabilization of these buildings,” according to Burnham. At least one city councilman thinks the city has done enough to help the building owners.

“We shouldn’t be doing their leg work for them,” said Councilman Barry Louderman at the June 2 Building Commission meeting. “They have the knowledge and money to go out and find someone to fix the problem. All they’re doing is waiting.

“I’m afraid if one (building) goes, it will take them all.”

Burnham stressed that while 205 Broadway is mentioned in the engineer’s March report, that building has been adequately stabilized by its owner, Bobby Heiser.

“I went up in it and it looks fine,” he said.