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City commission discusses fate of downtown building

By Everett Brazil, III

The Newkirk Herald Journal

NEWKIRK — The fate of a prominent building in the 100 Block of North Main Street is in limbo, as the Newkirk City Commission voted to take no action on a measure to rezone the structure as dilapidated in an effort to offer the landowner to present a plan to save the structure.

The Commission will revisit the issue at the June 14 meeting.

The structure in question is comprised of the Stanley and P.S. Mason buildings, constructed in 1902.

The front of the building between the two stories has started buckling, leading to bricks falling to the sidewalk below. Building owner Austin Gregory put a fence in front of it to prevent pedestrians from being hurt.

“If you look at the building, the façade is starting to pull away,” City Manager Ryan Smykil said. “The owner put up the fence, and is working on plans to make repairs to the façade, and get it back into place.”

A proposal was on the agenda of the May 24 hearing to declare the building dilapidated, but Gregory appealed to the Commission for more time to make repairs, including a timeline with a contractor. The Commission granted the request, and tabled the measure until the next meeting.

“We want to let him make repairs, and (by) taking no action, we’re giving him time to get it fixed,” Smykil said.

The Commission will revisit the measure June 14 to hear Gregory’s proposal. If the city were to declare the building dilapidated, repairs could potentially fall under their jurisdiction, although the owner would still be responsible themselves.

“If the owner is not going to make repairs, the city could be responsible for that,” Smykil said. “We don’t want to go that far, we don’t want to see the owner abandon the building.”

Gregory could not be reached for comment.


1 Comment

  1. Lisa Lee Martin 109 N Main, NEWKIRK on June 11, 2021 at 9:52 am

    The money it would take to take the building(s) down should be reallocated perhaps to helping the owner even if it becomes a loan or a lien. Just a suggestion. I’m all for preserving the town’s authenticity.

    We could perhaps create a fundraiser by way of drawing; offering a certificate from all the different businesses in town as a prize.

    Lisa Lee Martin
    Raman-Martin Film Production

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