Journal Express, Knoxville, IA

Local News

May 7, 2013

Public hearing extended; building could stand for months


Knoxville —

The need to demolish 110 East Robinson was stressed by Caviness' contractor, Shawn Ealy. Ealy told the council that joists and rafters in the Sundance building are tied to a common wall with 110 East Robinson. 

"Eventually, high winds or a storm will cause that to come down," Ealy said. 

"(Vincent has) had 14 months to do something," Caviness said. She expressed her anger that, despite being responsible and having insurance, she is being punished by Vincent's actions. 

The day of the fire, Sundance Realty moved into the old Our Town Florist building on the corner of Robinson and First. This building is owned by Iowa State Savings Bank, which is actively seeking a buyer. Caviness is currently renting the building. The rent is covered by insurance. However, Caviness told the council that if the building sells, she has 90 days to be out of the building and added that the insurance will not continue to cover her rent indefinitely. 

Concern about the sight of the burned out shell that is 110 East Robinson was also raised, given that Knoxville will be showcased during the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa in late July. Robinson Street businesses also have the upcoming Streetscape project that could affect business, and work done on buildings overall. Caviness said it has been six weeks since the fire and asked the council, "How long can we wait?"

"Every day that passes, I'm in a more difficult position," Caviness said. "I'm being penalized for somebody who doesn't give a crap." 

Caviness spoke once more during the hearing, to reiterate her appreciation to the fire department and other City crews for their quick response and assistance since the fire. 

"Time is probably not in the favor of having the building there," Dwight Johnston added. He was there with the owner of the other neighboring building to 110 East Robinson, Jean Peterson. Johnston said when it rains, water also runs down Peterson's walls and mold is becoming a problem. 

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Upon completion and reopening of Third Street, should the City of Knoxville wait to start the next stage of the Streetscape and Infrastructure project until 2015?

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