The building located behind the Parker House in uptown Hillsboro that saw part of a wall collapse in March was torn down Wednesday evening.
Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings said Thursday that building owner Jack Hope hired Dance Excavation to demolish the building Wednesday evening. Hastings said city workers later helped to remove some scrap and some items of value from the property, which Hope agreed to allow the city to auction off later this spring in exchange for the city’s assistance.
In early March, a partial collapse of a wall along the east side of the building left a gaping hole. Hope said at the time that while the structure abutted the rear walls of the Parker House and West Main Diner, it was not physically attached to those buildings.
Hope and city leaders have battled for several years over uptown properties owned by Hope. Since becoming mayor, Hastings has had several discussions with Hope over the years about the properties.
In 2015, the city took Hope to court for failing to register the Parker House Hotel as vacant property. Hope challenged the constitutionality of the ordinance, and the case was ultimately dismissed.
In 2008, the city and Hope were at odds over permitting inspections at various properties along West Main Street owned by Hope, particularly the Parker House. Then-safety and service director Ralph Holt said at the time, “We need to get it resolved one way or another. (The engineers) can look to see what Jack can do to either fix it, demo it, and the cost would be something he could absorb,” according to a Times-Gazette article.
But Hope disagreed, saying, “It’s dirty and musty, but structurally sound. It doesn’t meet current code, but that’s because it was built in the 1800s. I think it’s a valuable part of Hillsboro and I want to preserve it.”
Shortly thereafter, the city erected a chain-link fence on the sidewalk in front of the Parker House, claiming the building was unstable.
At an economic development forum Thursday at Southern State Community College, Hastings was asked about the status of Hope’s properties, with the mayor replying that he was attempting to work with the property owner “one bite at a time.”
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.