The demolition of buildings at 115, 117 and 119 West Main Street in Hillsboro commenced Wednesday.
Interim Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Dick Donley told The Times-Gazette, “The demolition is probably going to take another couple, three days, I imagine. By the time they get the buildings down and out of the way, maybe longer than that.”
Donley said that since there are three different property owners, the fate of the spaces after the demolition is a little up in the air.
“I thought [the business owners and I would] get together after it’s demolished and see what kind of agreement we can reach,” Donley said. “There are no immediate plans for a building or anything. It’s probably just going to be a vacant lot for a while. I’m trying to work with the owners to see if we can’t use it as a public parking lot for a while. I’d just hate to see it sit there.”
Though most of the demolition work is funded by the building owners’ insurance, Donley said the City of Hillsboro ultimately purchased the Slow ‘n Low building, which stood at 115 West Main St.
“The city owns the Slow ‘n Low building now, so the city is taking care of cost to demolish that building,” Donley said. “Otherwise, the demolition wouldn’t have been able to start because the former owner had no insurance on the building. I thought it was in the best interest to get the debris cleaned up and move along for her to just give the building to us, and we would pay for the cost of the removal. It works out well for everyone.”
The buildings once housed businesses including Slow ‘n Low Barbeque, Bon Appetit Gourmet Shoppe and Gifts, and Town Square Jewelers, though at the time of the collapse Town Square Jewelers was closed, and its building was vacant. The former jewelry shop building at 119 W. Main St. was the first to collapse, The Times-Gazette reported in June of this year. Following the collapse, both lanes of West Main Street (U.S. Route 50) were closed, but the eastbound lane of West Main Street remained closed long after the rest of the street was reopened.
Donley told The Times-Gazette that the crew started in the front of the buildings on Wednesday and was working its way toward the back so the eastbound lane could be reopened. Donley said hopes were that the eastbound lane would be open by Wednesday evening.
Meanwhile, the crew is spraying water on the debris as it comes down in an attempt to lessen the amount of dust created during the demolition, Donley said.
“When the first part fell on its own, it made a cloud like you wouldn’t believe,” Donley said. “Practically all the cars in uptown were covered in dust clear up to the courthouse. The old mortar in between the bricks can get pretty messy when you tear it down. In construction, they’re required to keep the dust down as much as they can, so they spray it with water as they go.”
Donley said there are currently no updates on the Parker House, which is located down the street at 137 W. Main St.
“I’m only [interim safety and service director] until maybe the end of this year, but I’m just kind of tackling one thing at a time,” Donley said. “Once we get this taken care of, that’s something we’d like to look into. We don’t want to bite off more than we can chew right now.”
Reach McKenzie Caldwell at 937-402-2570.