Sunday feature: Can the building on Washington and Lincoln be saved?

first_imgby James Jordan, Sumner Newscow — Wellington city building inspector Richard Jack is hopeful the building on the corner of Washington and Lincoln in Wellington can be saved. It is more than 100 years old, and has held up well, but recently serious problems developed. So much so that it could fall down, city officials say.Either the owners, or the city, will very soon get a company to come from Wichita to do some stabilization work that should keep it from falling down.Jack said the top popped out and it started collapsing, and it happened quickly. The owners notified the city, and the tenant, and roped the building off.“This and that happened all of a sudden for whatever reason,” he said. Jack said he was not saying earthquakes caused the damage, but it could have been a factor.The owners had done some good work on the building, including putting in a new roof, but Jack said things can happen to cause an old building to deteriorate rapidly, which is what happened in this case.At the city council meeting last Tuesday city officials said they want to save the building if at all possible. It has many of the original fixtures, and for the most part the building itself is sound. It is just that the southeast corner has started to have problems and is in danger of collapsing.At the meeting Jack said the building would not likely fall that day, but it could within a month if drastic actions are not taken immediately. The street is still blocked off as a safety precaution.Construction on the building was started in 1903 and was finished in 1910. There are several buildings of that age, or older, in the downtown area. There is also concern about them as time goes on.Jack said the city keeps an eye on them, and looks to see if there is damage that could be structural in nature.“Other than being 100 years old, and with deferred maintenance they seem sound,” he said.Some do have cracks here and there though, and Jack said people putting off maintenance to buildings is a concern because they will only get worse.On the building in question, Jack said an engineer found a picture from 2015 that showed some cracks. Now there is bowing of the supports in that area, and that is what has caused the building to be dangerous.He said buildings can develop structural damage almost overnight if maintenance is not done on them.While it may or may not have been made worse by the earthquakes Wellington has had over the last years, heavy rains and strong winds could also be contributing factors.“You start getting a door that won’t close anymore, or a couple of cracks. It does not take much after that, Jack said. It causes a little more damage, you get some rain and all of a sudden it is bad. The forces of nature can cause problems at any time,” he said.The building itself is rather large, with three floors. At the meeting last Tuesday, Jack said the building could fall in such a way that would damage other buildings, or it could just crumble on itself. It would be very expensive to tear the building down and the city would be left with another vacant lot.Doing the stabilization work that Jack has in mind will cost $2,000 or so, and that is a temporary fix. More stabilization will have to be done, but if it is stabilized, it can then be used again most likely.Jack said it was a real dilemma because the inside of the building is very nice.Early next week he will get the stabilization work, if the owners do not do so before that. The street will still be closed off at least partially for a time, until the city figures out what to do about the overall building beyond emergency stabilization.At present there is a real danger. He said it is possible the building could fall down with a strong storm, or another small earthquake.The stabilization involves putting steel beams into the ground that will have plates attached. The plates will hold the walls in place for awhile.Follow us on Facebook.Follow us on Twitter. Close Forgot password? Please put in your email: Send me my password! Close message Login This blog post All blog posts Subscribe to this blog post’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Subscribe to this blog’s comments through… RSS Feed Subscribe via email Subscribe Follow the discussion Comments (8) Logging you in… Close Login to IntenseDebate Or create an account Username or Email: Password: Forgot login? Cancel Login Close Username or Email: Password: Lost your password? Cancel Login Dashboard | Edit profile | Logout Logged in as Admin Options Disable comments for this page Save Settings Sort by: Date Rating Last Activity Loading comments… You are about to flag this comment as being inappropriate. Please explain why you are flagging this comment in the text box below and submit your report. The blog admin will be notified. Thank you for your input. +17 Vote up Vote down JustMe · 209 weeks ago Why is the city going to pay for the neglect of a property not owned by the city? Report Reply 1 reply · active 208 weeks ago +6 Vote up Vote down Concerned citizen · 209 weeks ago I don’t have first hand knowledge in this case but cities normally act to protect the public in cases like this and then bill the owner and assess the bill against the property as a lion. Sounds like they are trying to merely stabilize the building to try to prevent personal injury and further damage to surrounding property. Report Reply 0 Vote up Vote down Citizen · 209 weeks ago JustMe is asking a valid question. When your home starts to age due to neglect over the years, the city doesn’t pay to place beams in it. That is up to the owner. Report Reply 1 reply · active 209 weeks ago +5 Vote up Vote down Common Sense · 209 weeks ago Valid the question it may be, but with a little thought you can also figure it out, this is a time sensitive, possible other property and city property (community roads and streets) issue. Stop continuously thinking dollars, if the building falls while someone is walking near or driving near, it could hurt people. Your home involves you and your family not the middle of down town with hundreds of vehicles driving past it every day or people right under it. I believe this is what government is supposed to do in this instance, protect citizens if possible. If it means they spend 2000 dollars then by all means please spend the 2000 instead of someone getting hit by a falling building and suing the city and the owner, then we pay millions, which would you rather have? Report Reply 0 Vote up Vote down james · 209 weeks ago Good comments. It is a public safety issue. Stabilization isn’t going to cost that much, and the property owners will be billed. It’s even possible the owners will pay it. Dont know yet. Historic old buildings are worth saving for the common good. Report Reply 3 replies · active 209 weeks ago +2 Vote up Vote down CueballSumnernewscow 94p · 209 weeks ago I’m with James. These buildings are historic which in its time were some of the greatest architectural wonders. Tearing them down should be an absolute last resort. People seem to forget that the Glasgow building was in much worse shape a few years back before a gentleman by the name Karl Broderick poured money into it. Restoration is also something that becomes impossible once a building is torn down. Report Reply +1 Vote up Vote down JustMe · 209 weeks ago An individual poured personal money into it? Good for him! That’s how is should be. The house that was torn down over by Lincoln school (4th and G?) would fall into the same criteria (a historic structure that was also a public safety issue) as this building. But alas, the city didn’t pay to have it fixed. The 2k the city plans on spending is a drop in the bucket that it will take to fix the Asian issues of this building that have been known about for years by the owner. Stop spending my money on someone’s personal property! Report Reply 0 Vote up Vote down JustMe · 209 weeks ago Please excuse the autocorrect typo in my above post. I don’t believe the building has an Asian issue. It has an aging issue. lol. I Report Reply Post a new comment Enter text right here! 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