Another downtown building razed in Toledo | News, Sports, Jobs

TR PHOTO BY DARVIN GRAHAM Hatch Grading and Contracting crews worked to demolish the vacant building at 221 W. High St. in Toledo, which is directly across from the Tama County Courthouse. The back of the building collapsed on March 20, and this week Toledo City Council approved an emergency declaration authorizing the city to demolish the building.

The impacts of the 2020 derecho continue to be felt as Toledo loses a fifth building off its downtown plaza.

According to a report by City Administrator 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 structure in danger of s collapse further.

The commercial building is connected to the Tama Abstract Company along its western wall and has a driveway bordering its eastern wall.

On Monday, the council moved to make an emergency declaration declaring the building had been assessed by a registered engineer following the March 20 incident and was deemed a dangerous building and a public nuisance. The declaration allowed the city to contract a demolition service to raze the building, a process that should be completed by early next week at the latest.

The city engaged Hatch Grading and Contracting of Dysart to complete the work. Under a declaration of emergency, the city has the authority to contract demolition services without going through a formal bidding process due to the danger posed by the structure in its current state.

According to Jordan, a rough estimate of the demolition cost is around $60,000. The cost can be turned into a special property tax assessment, though city attorney Mike Marquess said the city is unlikely to ultimately recoup the full cost of the demolition.

The 200 block of West High Street in Toledo has seen a domino effect of building collapses that began 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 business and the tenants of the upstairs apartment, although no injuries were sustained in the incident. The building at 119 W. High St. was demolished later that year.

In 2016, the building at 221 W. High St. saw the bottom of its southeast wall warp and partially implode. The city council had publicly expressed concerns about the condition of the property in 2015, but decided against taking formal nuisance abatement action.

The property at 221 W. High St. is owned by a limited liability company titled Tama County Parcel No. 1415455005, which is controlled by Tama’s attorney, Allen Richards.

In 2020, three other vacant storefronts at 109, 113, and 115 W. High St. were badly damaged during the August derecho. The city of Toledo issued a similar declaration of emergency 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 on the property during the coming year.

Void holes remain in each of the lots that lost downtown buildings, though Toledo Economic Development, Inc. (TCDI) obtained ownership of the three properties that were damaged and razed in 2020 in hopes of promoting future development. TCDI is a nonprofit local development organization that frequently partners with the city on residential and commercial development projects.

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David H. Henry