It’s time for eyesores to go

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Tell City is getting tough on its worst eyesores. Heaven, be praised.

Suits have been filed against Carolyn Barr’s Rebarr Restoration LLC, owner of the former William Tell Hotel, and Tellco Properties, which owns the heap of rubble at the corner of Seventh and Franklin streets, and an intact building attached to it.

As most everyone who spends even occasional time in Tell City knows, a large section of wall collapsed at the William Tell Hotel in late July.

Barr has been given a demolition order by the city but tells its mayor and building inspector she’s dealing with her insurance company.  The former furniture-manufacturing operation on Seventh Street has been a rubble site for a year and while its Kentucky owner has promised to do something and offered the building for sale, we’ve seen no progress.

We commend the city for filing legal action, something that probably should have been done earlier. We know the city was looking for grants that would have helped cover some of the demolition and cleanup costs. Sadly, there’s no ready source of money.

Maybe legal pressure, coupled with fines the city can level or doing the work itself and seeking reimbursement in court, will make something happen soon.

We contrast the process of tearing down Tellco’s site, an example of everything going wrong, with the successful demolition of Swiss Plywood a couple of blocks to the south. A sudden fire helped speed the process but the contractor hired to raze the buildings did their work quickly and completely. Tellco’s site and the old William Tell Hotel look like the backdrop for a World War II flick of bombed-out Berlin. It’s a black eye on the city’s downtown.

The same goes for the former hotel, although we grant it’s not been sitting there nearly as long as the old furniture plant.

Preserving old buildings is admirable and we acknowledge Barr’s good intentions. But admirable goals  have to show progress and an unsafe building that poses a threat to the public and commerce isn’t acceptable, certainly not for weeks at a time.
It would have been great had some new use been found for the William Tell Hotel. That likely won’t happen. We encourage her to clean up the site as quickly as possible. If not, the city’s suit will eventually achieve that objective.

The Main Street building last used as a seafood restaurant and formerly the Glow Room Tavern faces a bleak future unless someone purchases it and begins immediate work. City leaders have approved filing a suit against its owners. The Italianate structure that was the original Tell City National Bank is for sale and while the sturdy building is most likely far from falling down, its gutters are disintegrating and bricks are falling onto the sidewalk below. That, too, is unacceptable.

The city should use every means at its disposal, lawsuits included, to force Barr and Tellco to clean up their messes.

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