Adams Roofing building is coming down

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Neil Johnson
Tuesday, April 22, 2014

JANESVILLE—By the end of this week, the former Adams & Sons Roofing building should be gone.

A demolition company Tuesday started knocking down the 104-year-old former warehouse, which sits at 411 N. Main St. along a flood-prone stretch of the Rock River near downtown Janesville.

The demolition will clear the city-owned property and pave the way for it and a 1.2-acre parcel to the north to become open space and a gateway for a potential revitalized riverfront downtown, city officials say.  

The city bought the property from Adams Roofing in September 2013 for $360,000 and paid to help the company relocate from the brick and concrete block building.

The purchase, relocation and demolition are funded through a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development flood assistance grant.

The demolition ends the constant threat of spring flooding to the building, which all but overhangs the east bank of the Rock River. Part of the 10,000-square-foot building's west side flooded badly along with several homes along the stretch during the historic floods of 2008.

Adams Roofing removed part of the building, and the city tore down the homes after the flooding.

Tuesday, Guelig Waste Removal & Demolition owner Bob Guelig was tearing into the east wall of the building with a backhoe. He said salvage crews for his Eden-based company already had removed the bulk of usable lumber and wood floor planks from the two-story building.

Those crews plan to remove usable bricks, Guelig said.

Guelig was still working out a strategy to keep the building's west walls from crumbling into the river when he tears down that side. Under state Department of Natural Resources rules, he would have to pull out any material that fell in the river.

Guelig figured he would tear down the west side of the building and a 3,000-square-foot Quonset hut next to it later this week.

“You've gotta get a feel for the building first to see how things are coming down. It gives you an idea of how the rest will come down,” he said.

The demolition includes site grading and restoration of 4,300 square yards of the property, according to project bid documents.

The city designated the demolition as a key priority in a study funded by a brownfield grant two years ago.

The city views the Adams Roofing parcel as instrumental in its plans to revitalize the downtown and potentially create a riverfront corridor that would give the public more access to the river.

Recently, the city began holding public information sessions on a downtown riverfront development plan that could include business fronts and promenades that face the river along with walkways and bike paths, public open spaces and pedestrian bridges across the river.

The plan would tie 240 acres along the river downtown and create a continuous riverfront area that spans from Traxler Park south to Riverfront Park in the Old Fourth Ward.

Initial plans for the Adams Roofing site include green space and potential bike paths that link to Traxler Park.

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