Quincy to tear down derelict building, residents express concern

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 11:26 PM CDT
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QUINCY (WGEM) - Monday night the Quincy City Council voted to approve nearly $80,000 for expenses to tear down a property that caught fire about a month and a half ago. Residents question why certain properties get torn down before others.

People who live along the 600 block of Chestnut said you can tell a property on the street needs to be torn down just by driving past it.

Alan Hickman has been living at a house across the street from this property for at least 30 years.

“If it’s a house on the southside or somewhere over there in a rich neighborhood, they would’ve been torn it down. So why not this one,” Hickman questioned. “This has been sitting there for a few months vacant you know. It’s just sitting there. It’s an eye sore.”

Across the city sits another property on State street, caddy-corner from the Gem City College of Cosmetology. It also caught fire almost a month and a half after the one on Chestnut.

“The building is tall enough where it could potentially risk the public. So we’re trying to get it down as soon as we can,” Quincy Planning and Development Director Chuck Bevelheimer said the exterior walls of the 649 State Street building are three stories high and could collapse into the street.

“We try to work with the property owner to make sure their insurance could cover the cost of the demolition,” Bevelheimer said.

He said this property is not insured so taxpayers will have to cover the costs to tear it down.

Quincy city officials explained why there needs to be a change in requirements for property owners whose buildings catch fire, so that other taxpayers don’t have to foot the bill at the council meeting Monday night.

Mayor Mike Troup said they have to find a way to minimize the occurrences where somebody buys a property that’s not insured, abandons it when something goes wrong and then leaves it for the city to figure out.

“There’s a lot of uninhabitable housing units within the city limits that this is not going to be the last one this year that we’re going to have to repair and this pretty much wipes out the budget for this year of this one project,” Troup said.

He believes the development of the city’s landbank they started to fund earlier this year will help. It allows them to purchase properties like this by putting a lien on it... then selling it to a developer who can repurpose the land.

10 aldermen voted to approve the resolution for nearly $80,000 to demolish the 649 State Street property. Alderman Greg Fletcher voted no and three were absent.

Bevelheimer said they hope to start the demolition on this building sometime next week and doesn’t know when they’ll tear down the building on Chestnut.

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