All but one of the structures at 1118 N. 7th Street are facing demolition and the City Commission will be having a public hearing regarding the matter during its next meeting on Monday.
The buildings across from LFM Park often referred to as the old Rock Inn have been vacant for many years, and with many holes in the roof have been taking on water and are no longer structurally sound. City leaders have been hesitant to demolish the property in hopes that a new purpose could be found and that it would be saved and brought up to safety standards.
The City owns the buildings and is having the public hearing to give any interested parties an opportunity to speak on behalf of the property and give a chance for someone to step up and take on a potential reconstruction project. Barring a reliable plan for the space, the demolition will likely take place in the next few weeks.
The poor state of the property has led to safety concerns which were brought to light recently when police responded to a call about three children playing around the facility. The officer responded to find three children under the age of 10 playing on the roof of the main building, which has many holes and poses a concern. With the building’s proximity to LFM Park also taken into consideration, it is possible that if nobody steps up to repair the facility that it could be in the public interest to tear it down.
“We’d rather see someone step up and save the building, but we can’t ignore the safety issues that exist,” Assistant City Manager Justin Pregont said. “We recognize that there is some historical significance involved and that’s why we’ve been reluctant to tear it down. But now that we’ve actively had children playing around it, we can’t afford to take that risk any longer.”
The meeting will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Monday in the Commission Room.