The effects of 2020’s derecho continue to reverberate as Toledo loses a fifth building from its downtown spot.
According to a report by city manager Kendall Jordan at the last city council meeting, the south wall of the two-story building at 221 W. High St. collapsed on March 20, leaving the entire building at risk of another collapse.
The commercial building is attached to the Tama Abstract Company along its western wall and has an alleyway adjoining its eastern wall.
On Monday, the city council took action to issue a state of emergency declaration, saying the building was assessed by a licensed engineer after the March 20 incident and classified as a dangerous building and public nuisance. The statement allowed the city to hire a demolition service to demolish the building, a process that is expected to be completed by early next week at the latest.
The city hired Hatch Grading and Contracting with Dysart to complete the work. Under a declaration of emergency, the city is authorized to commission demolition work without having to go through a formal bidding process because the structure poses a hazard in its current state.
According to Jordan, the cost of demolition is roughly $60,000. The cost may be collected in a special assessment against taxes on the property, although city attorney Mike Marquess said he thinks it’s unlikely the city will ultimately recover the full cost of the demolition.
The 200 block of West High Street in Toledo has experienced a domino effect of building collapses, beginning in 2014 with a sudden collapse of the top floor of the building at 119 W. High St.
At the time, this building was occupied by a shop and tenants in the upstairs apartment, although no injuries were sustained in the incident. The 119 W. High St. building was demolished later that year.
In 2016, the building at 221 W. High St. had the bottom of its southeast wall buckled and partially imploded. The city council had publicly expressed concerns about the state of the property in 2015, but decided against formal harassment action.
The property at 221 W. High St. is owned by a limited liability company named Tama County Parcel No 1415455005, controlled by Tama Attorney Allen Richards.
In 2020, three other vacant storefronts at 109, 113 and 115 W. High St. in the Derecho were badly damaged in August. The city of Toledo issued a similar emergency declaration to demolish these buildings because they were all connected and the back walls and upper floors were either completely collapsed or significantly damaged.
The storm also severely damaged an apartment building at 124 N. Broadway St. along the east side of Courthouse Square, which was later demolished by the owner, who is expected to rebuild the property next year.
Empty holes remain on each of the lots that lost downtown buildings, though Toledo Economic Development, Inc. (TCDI) has secured ownership of the three lots that were damaged and leveled in 2020 in hopes that the drive future development. TCDI is a local non-profit development organization that often works with the city on housing and commercial development projects.