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Our Opinion: Raze unsafe building, then look toward prevention

Our Opinion: Raze unsafe building, then look toward prevention

August 5th, 2018 by News Tribune in Opinion

The crumbling building on the southeast corner of High and Madison streets will be razed.

And while we aren't rejoicing over the demolition of a building that has been a part of our downtown since the 1800s, we are glad that action is being taken.

All summer, the building has been a nuisance and inconvenience to downtown workers and shoppers. A Thursday Night Live event was cancelled in June, and vehicle/pedestrian traffic has been rerouted.

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What's worse, the building has been classified as dangerous because its walls have been compromised. The area is roped off, but a building that large and structurally unsound still could pose dangers to the public.

The building's partial collapsed wall appears to have been no one's fault but shouldn't be a surprise considering its age and, according to city officials, lack of regular maintenance.

But the building's owner is responsible for either fixing it or demolishing it. Andrew Neidert choose the latter, according to Jefferson City Building Official Larry Burkhardt.

We hope Neidert will have the building demolished quickly and safely.

We also hope the Jefferson City Council will take steps to help prevent this in the future.

How? By ensuring that the city's building inspections are being done correctly and in a timely manner.

After Neidert Properties renovated the third floor of the building in 2013, building inspectors filed an incomplete report, according to a report obtained by the News Tribune. The report shows building inspectors approved the building's electrical and plumbing systems, but three other sections, including site inspection, are listed as pending.

Burkhardt said in mid-June that the building might have been inspected properly. Short staffing, though, may have led to the files being entered incorrectly.

That begs several question:

Was the building inspected properly? If so, why was the report not completed? If it was due to staff oversight, that needs to be addressed so it doesn't happen again.

Does city code need to be revised to require more regular inspections?

Are more inspectors needed to do the job properly?

Like 200 E. High St., many buildings — including downtown buildings — are old, and others also could be structurally unsound.

We hope the council takes proactive steps so that potential problems will be discovered before they pose dangers.