Cleanup deadline passed for collapsed building on Themis

Monday, April 30, 2007

Almost one year ago, the parapet of the nearly century-old apartment building at the corner of Themis and North Ellis streets collapsed, taking out a bay window and porch with it.

The city immediately condemned the structurally unsafe building and Cape Girardeau police surrounded the area with yellow tape to keep people away from the area. But since it collapsed May 9, little work has been done to remove the debris from the property.

Residents have complained to the city about the eyesore in their neighborhood. Larry Summary, who owns the nearby Otahki Apartments, claimed to have spotted rats scurrying through the debris last October.

Last October, the building's owner, Ann Morales, who lives in South Carolina, said she hired a local contractor to clean up the property. But he never completed the job, Morales said in January. She turned the property over to the city and now Morales will be billed by the city for the cleanup work.

On Feb. 27, the city awarded a $21,395 contract to Nip Kelly Construction Company of Cape Girardeau to clean the property.

According to Steve Williams, who handles condemnation procedures for the city's Planning Services Division, Nip Kelly was allowed 45 days for debris removal. But the April 13 deadline to clean up the property has passed and, although progress had been made and a large Dumpster sits on the property, the area is still filled with debris.

"They were supposed to have started on it this week," Williams said last Thursday.

Kelly Construction was given an extension, but legal action could be taken if the property isn't "cleaned up soon," Williams said.

"I know they are running behind because they had four other properties to clean up. We hope to get it cleared as soon as possible," he said.

"If we see progress in the next couple days, it shouldn't be a problem," he said. "We are going to make sure we get it done and it will get done, there's just been some delays getting started."

jfreeze@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 246

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