SHELBYVILLE, IL. —
Lack of liability insurance may force the hand of the Shelbyville City Council in deciding the future or fate of the 110-year-old Chautauqua building.
The council agreed Monday night only to seek bids on the cost of demolishing the historic building after being told that the insurance company would not longer carry liability insurance on the building in its present state. The building has become more unstable in recent months, and the Chautauqua Preservation Committee has been pushing the Council into making a decision about the building's future.
Commissioner Brent Fogleman moved that they get bids on the building's demolition. Commissioner Jeff Johnson was the lone "no" vote.
"So you're deciding to tear down the building?" asked one audience member.
"No. The motion is only to get bids to bring it down. We want to see how much it will cost (the city) before we decide," Fogleman said.
The Chautauqua committee has raised $100,000 in four years, but needs another $150,000 to begin work to stabilize the building. In recent months, the committee has requested financial help from the City for the project.
"We have to make a decision tonight whether it be getting grants and coming up with matching funds, getting bids to tear it down, or letting it stand without insurance," said Commissioner Bill Shoaff.
"Letting it stand without insurance is not an option," said Mayor Roy Shuff. "If we got a grant where would we get matching funds. It's not a good thing sitting out there without liability insurance."
"By the time we get enough money, it could just fall down on its own," Shoaff said.
"It's a tough call. I saw a lot of stuff happen out there in my lifetime. I hate to see it come to an end," Shoaff said.
Continuing debate between council members and comments from audience members made the decision hard for the council.
"It boils down to the city's going to help us or it's not going to work," said Chautauqua committee chairman Wayne Gray. " It's a long term project. It (Chautauqua building) is salvageable, but it takes money."
Gray announced that he is resigning from the committee and asked the council to recognize the work of the committee members.
"There were a ton of people doing a lot of work. I would like to see something from the city thanking the committee. They are the ones that did it," Gray said.
The Council agreed.
The Council also agreed that no money raised by the committee would be used on demolition if that decision is made. Money donated and pledged to the preservation project itself will be refunded to the donors as per committee records. Money raised through activities and raffles will not be refunded. The city will work with the CPA to work with donation refunds.
Other actions by the Council will be reported in Friday, March 8, Daily Union.