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Government
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Downtown building could be demolished as soon as December

JANESVILLE

The remaining shell of a downtown building could be torn down as soon as December after a potential buyer failed to submit a plan to save it.

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Luther Ledic of Rocket Realty and Property Management had until Nov. 1 to submit to the city a plan of rehabilitation for the building at 13 N. Main St., but no plan was submitted, city Building Director Tom Clippert said.

“I take it as a personal loss I was not able to create a plan to save it (the building),” Ledic said.

Costs for repair and concerns with zoning codes, which he chose not to publicly specify, prevented Ledic from submitting a plan for rehabilitation, Ledic said.

“We are disappointed. I was really looking forward to finding a way to save the building,” Ledic said.

Ledic in May entered a commercial purchase agreement with the property’s owner, Bruce Monson, with the intention to save the building.

Monson still owns the property and will continue to own the empty lot after the city demolishes the building, Clippert said.

City officials have no plans to buy the property, Clippert said.

The city issued a raze-or-repair order for the building in September 2018. The city and Monson negotiated for months but could not reach an agreement.

The building is a safety hazard that likely will collapse if nothing is done, Clippert said.

The rear exterior wall facing the Rock River was removed, the inside of the building has no structure and there are holes in the floor, Clippert said.

Anthony Wahl 

The backside of the building at 13 N. Main St. has been open for more than a year. The building could be torn down as soon as December after a potential buyer failed to submit a plan to save it.

It will cost the city $158,443 to demolish the building. That cost will be billed to Monson, Clippert said.

Clippert is working to schedule a meeting between the contractor, Fisher Excavator out of Freeport, Illinois, and neighboring property owners to discuss how the building will come down.

Legends bar and O’Leary law office occupy the adjacent buildings.

Demolition will be tricky, and details will be hashed out at the upcoming meeting, Clippert said.

The entire building will have to come down, leaving behind an empty lot, Clippert said.

To prevent the building from being razed, Monson would have to enter a compliance agreement with the city, create a plan for how he intends to renovate the building to code, provide a financial plan for the rehabilitation and have cost estimates from contractors, Clippert said.


Government
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Rock County to take another look at arming courthouse security guards

JANESVILLE

The Rock County Board in December will revisit the idea of having armed security guards at the courthouse.

Brent Sutherland, director of facilities management for the county, told the board at its meeting Thursday a resolution on the topic will resurface next month.

The board’s General Services Committee tabled the idea in February.

For the most part, county leaders say arming security guards is the right move. Who or what group will provide the guards is yet to be determined.

Rock County Sheriff Troy Knudson said adding armed guards to the recent security upgrades at the courthouse would be “another important step forward.”

Global Security Services, the company currently in charge of courthouse safety, has different levels of security packages.

The county’s current three-year agreement with the company provides three unarmed guards stationed at the entrance of the courthouse, but for an additional $13,000 annually, the county could arm them, bumping up the total cost from $75,000 to $88,000

Rock County Sheriff’s Office deputies could be another option for providing armed guards, which would cost the county about $176,000 per year.

At Thursday’s meeting, Sutherland said most of the judges in Rock County are on board with arming security guards and said acts of violence against courthouses have increased since the early 2000s.

Brad Utter, president of Global Security Services, said the company has qualified guards and that 30% of its employees are veterans. He said his company’s guards haven’t had to use lethal force in at least a decade.

“We’re willing to do whatever we need to do to make sure we have an effective security force here,” he said.

Knudson said the issue has been on the table for a long time and that he feels for guards who don’t have firearms to protect themselves or others.

“I do think maybe armed security would help protect them (guards) a little more and potentially the courthouse, but I still think eventually if we decide to go with deputies, it would be an even larger step forward,” he said.

While deploying sheriff’s deputies as courthouse guards would be more expensive, the sheriff said he thinks that’s the route the county should go.

“You have different training if you’re using a contracted provider, different policies, different authority levels,” he said.

Knudson was also worried about communication between outside contractors and law enforcement during an emergency. If the county chooses to arm guards, Knudson said he would help however he could regardless of which option the board chooses.

District 16 supervisor Phil Owens said having armed security in the building would provide law enforcement extra backup in an emergency.

Danette Rynes of District 3 said she would prefer deputies over a private company. She worried about the aftermath if a contracted company were to use deadly force at the courthouse.

“I think we owe our citizens and our employees of the building someone armed down there who has an oath of office to serve and protect, has proper training, has accountability,” she said.

“If we’re going to have someone armed down there, it needs to be someone that’s an officer.”


Obituaries and death notices for Nov. 15, 2019

Cynthia A. (Hunt) Clendenon

Edwin Luling Nash

Michael Patrick Terry

Esther Marie Silha