Shelbyville Daily Union

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January 3, 2014

A look back at 2013

Although Shelby County had a quiet year overall, some issues regarding buildings remained in the forefront for most of the year.

The Chautauqua building in Forest Park continues to top the list as the City Council hesitates to make any action decisions about it. The 110-year-old Chautauqua building has faced uncertainty for several years as age and neglect has taken its toll. The recent concern is a support beam showing signs of failing and danger of collapse. The city’s insurance has pulled the liability coverage from the building and the City was forced to close the building to public use.

The fate of the building stirred many supporters to action when the Shelbyville City Council talked about seeking bids to raze the building. A FaceBook page was created and drew a large number of supporters and about $30,000 in donations and pledges to couple with a fundraising committee’s efforts of nearly $125,000. A second Chautauqua committee was formed to create a business plan for the building’s use and support if restoration is done.

“It boils down to the city’s going to help us or it’s not going to work,” said Chautauqua committee chairman Wayne Gray at the meeting in March. “It’s a long term project. It (Chautauqua building) is salvageable, but it takes money.”

The City Council has not made a decision about its support for the Chautauqua pending an engineering report expected in early 2014.

A fire in a downtown building destroyed apartments and three businesses on North Morgan Street in Shelbyville. Help from 18 area fire departments help to contain the fire from spreading through other adjoining buildings. A fire wall between the building and the Longbranch Grill also kept the fire from spreading.

The Shelbyville City Council is also looking to have the Lidster Hotel demolished because of the hazard the building has become. Broken windows and collapsing walls have created an eyesore and a health threat. Efforts are being made by the Council to locate the owner of the building for demolition.

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