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City to issue order to raze or repair Case Feed building

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GINA R. HEINE
October 28, 2009
— City officials plan to fence off sidewalks around the former Case Feed building and will issue a raze-or-repair order to the owner.

Council President Bill Truman, who drives almost daily past the building, alerted officials Sunday that several bricks had fallen off the exterior, according to a police report.


"Truman believed this was cause for concern and someone should be alerted," the report reads.


Police and a city inspector viewed the site Sunday and barricaded the property, which is at the corner of Center Avenue and Rockport Road.


The owner is North American Companies of Madison.


"We're trying to reach the owner to discuss what his options are," said Gale Price, manager of building and development services. "We're going to issue a formal notice as soon as we can get the paperwork put together and get it to him."


That notice would be a raze-or-repair order, giving the owner 30 days to address the problems, he said. If the owner wants to preserve the building, he would have to present a plan with financial documents ensuring it would happen, he said.


If the building continues to deteriorate and is in imminent danger of collapsing, the city will take the building down, even if the 30 days haven't expired, he said.


"We won't wait, we'll have no choice," he said.


The city May 15 ordered the owner to secure the structure by boarding it up, replacing broken windows and repairing brick. On June 25, the city issued an order forbidding human occupancy of the eastern building.


The building's deterioration appears to be accelerating, Price said.


"Unfortunately, I think we have to make a decision here in the interest of public safety," he said. "Either the owner gets this thing fixed, or the building's going to have to be removed."


The southwest corner of the property is bowing out, Price said, and officials suspect recent rain and freezing are accelerating the deterioration of the western wall along Center Avenue.


"If that west wall were to fail, we're going to have a mess not only on the sidewalk but on the street," he said.



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