Piece by piece

Brent Cooper, pictured far right, is shown carrying debris out of a building located at 165 Broadway Street in Jackson. The building has been a topic of concern for a period of time.

Note: This story appears in the Wednesday, Oct. 2 newspaper on Page A1.

JACKSON — Restoration or demolition?

That is the current dilemma for a building in downtown Jackson that has been a topic of concern for a while. The building in question is located at 165 Broadway Street in Jackson.

There have been many things happen with the building in the last five months. Here’s a timeline:

May 2, 2019: The City of Jackson issued the building owner a citation. The owner of the building at that time was Phil A. Bowman of Jackson Grandview Builders, Inc. He purchased the land and building in November 2015. The building’s roof collapsed in the back and front, with just a bit of the center of the roof left intact. This was the state of the building when Bowman purchased it, but it has progressed some in recent years.

June 27, 2019: The City of Jackson held a hearing, with a two-person hearing board made up of Jackson Mayor Randy Heath and Council President Eric Brown, regarding the building’s state. The board heard from Bowman along with Jackson Service Director William “Bill” Sheward, Jr. and local business owner Liz Frisby. The hearing lasted just over two hours, with each person being questioned by either local Attorney Richard M. Lewis or Attorney Joseph D. Kirby.

July 2, 2019: The City of Jackson Hearing Board announced that Bowman would be making arrangements to have the building demolition by a contractor of his choosing.

July 3, 2019: Bowman sold the building to Apple City Real Estate Holding, LLC. Brent Cooper of Oak Hill is the contractor who will be tearing the building down.

July 24, 2019: The building suffered an internal collapse at about 4:55 p.m. Before the collapse, passersby could look through the glass door and see the staircase to the second floor, which has fallen and is now covered in debris from either the second floor or roof. Frisby called 911, and the Jackson Police Department, Jackson Fire Department, and Jackson Service Director showed up to look at the building. The Jackson City Street and Alley Department came that evening and blocked off the sidewalk and parking spots in front of the building.

Sept. 10, 2019: The hearing board had set a deadline for the demolition to be completed on or before Friday, Sept. 13. The demolition was scheduled to begin on Sept. 9 but ended up being postponed due to the Jackson Apple Festival.

Sept. 23, 2019: The demolition of the building was rescheduled to begin on Monday, Sept. 23, 2019; however, it didn’t start.

Sept. 25, 2019: Cooper picked up his demolition permit from the City of Jackson, and clean-up by hand began inside the building.

The Courier visited the building on the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 25, and found Brent Cooper and his crew of two other men moving debris out of the building by hand. The Courier asked Cooper for some comments regarding his plans going forward with the building.

“Part of it is up in the air,” stated Cooper. “The original plan was to tear it down, we had a lot of concern from the community because they don’t want the front of the building to come down, so we may possibly do a restoration on it.”

Cooper added, “We won’t know that until we get the inside gutted, and we can do an inspection of the masonry. So, far, the masonry looks in perfect condition. The building is not dangerous. The brick on the front of the building is good as any building up this street.”

The inside of the building, according to Cooper, is going to be gutted by hand, and most of the work will be done in the evenings, so it will be a slow process. Cooper didn’t have a time-frame to share with The Courier regarding how long it would take to complete process.

“The city has been good to work with us, and we are on schedule,” Cooper said.

The following day, The Courier visited Jackson Mayor Randy Heath, regarding Cooper’s plan to possibly restore the building, when the original plan called for the building to be demolition.

“He (Cooper) has to address, and resolve the issue to make it a satisfactory structure,” stated Heath. “It can’t be like it is now, whether that’s tearing it down or rehabbing the structure.”

The Courier asked Heath about the time limit in which Cooper needs to complete this project, and he explained that was something the city was going to discuss in the future.

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