Property owner: Plan is to raze abandoned buildings

As the city turns a more acute eye toward the abandoned building plight, one owner shared his intentions to remove at least three structures from the registry.

Dick Groner met with the Jefferson City Historic Preservation Commission on Tuesday to explain his demolition application for 212 W. Elm St.

“You’re wasting your time to talk to us; we’re going to tear it down,” he began.

Many years ago, Groner bought eight homes and a business partner bought several more in that immediate area of Elm and Broadway.

Their intent from the beginning was to raze all of the properties and lower the land to street level, Groner said.

The application, which the commission approved, is the sixth.

When asked how long the remaining properties would continue to sit unmaintained, Groner said he would bulldoze them all tomorrow, if he could. But he said he has met with bureaucratic problems from the state Department of Natural Resources and the federal government.

“It’s an issue when these buildings sit like this,” said 5th Ward Councilman Larry Henry, who is the commission’s council liaison.

Henry told the commission the city has begun a process toward more action regarding the registered abandoned buildings. When the time comes, city officials will want the commission’s input, he said.

In other business, the commission:

• Announced the Heritage Week ceremony will be held at 4 p.m. May 20 in the council chambers.

• Approved the demolition permit for 435 Clark Ave., which is owned by the Immaculate Conception Church, to make way for future expansion.

• Discussed the possible demolition of the Cole County Sheriff’s House and Jail, and appointed Bill Case to attend the Cole County Commission’s April 16 meeting, where they likely will make a final decision.

• Reviewed the National Register of Historic Places nomination for Paddy Malone’s, 700-702 W. Main St.

• Encouraged all members to attend the June meeting, where State Historic Preservation Office staff will present a training on the Section 106 review process.

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