|Old Moose Lodge a goner|
This winter's onslaught of the white stuff left one very visible victim in downtown Helper that's now creating a hazard on Main Street.
The roof of the building owned by Delores Markakis at the far south end of town succumbed to a mountain of accumulated snow in early February. The collapse left mainly the front facade and piles of debris.
"We have some concerns about the building falling on somebody," said Helper Attorney Gene Strait at the City Council meeting March 6.
Markakis came to the meeting seeking direction from the council concerning the demolition of her building.
"What I would like is something from you in writing stating the city's requirements to give to the contractor," she said.
The general consensus, however, was that there weren't any city requirements to put into writing. However, there were some suggestions.
"You may want to check with state ordinances on demolition to be clear about any issues with asbestos," Councilman Dean Armstrong said.
Markakis told the council she was planning to take the brick debris and put it into the basement of the building and then cover it over so it could be used as a parking lot. The council requested that if she follows through on that plan that it be safe and attractive.
Mayor Mike Dalpiaz said that as long as the debris was non-combustible there wasn't any ordinance for her to adhere to. He added that there had been a request for some of the bricks to be used in city parks.
"The beautification girls want some of the bricks from the facade to use on the parkway," he said.
The building owner pushed a little more for some official guidance on codes for the work. Strait said that for the city to produce anything additional to do what she was learning at the meeting would require him to a lot research.
Dalpiaz did offer to provide Markakis with a copy of the minutes for her to give to the contractor.
"However, what you and your contractor do is your business," he said.
Armstrong recommended that Markakis engage a contractor who has experience with demolition and said that any seasoned contractor would likely know the regulations.
She then asked if it would be possible for Helper's public works employees to tear down the building.
"Does the city have equipment to do this?" she asked. "I would pay the fees and then donate the land back to the city."
Dalpiaz had to decline this request as well.
"Our crews are stretched razor thin," he said.
Armstrong volunteered to help Markakis navigate some of the issues to help expedite the project.
"We have immediate hazards as people are being forced to walk up and down in the street," he said. "I would be willing to work with you and see who we can talk to about getting it done."
Markakis acknowledged Armstrong's concerns.
"I do have two qualified bids," she said. "I do understand the immediacy of getting that front wall down."
The issue of community safety sparked further discussion.
"I have one big concern," Dalpiaz said. "Once the building gets torn down there needs to be a secure fence around there."
Commenting on Armstrong's point about residents having to walk in the street, Dalpiaz said "We really need to get the sidewalk open.
"I am really concerned that it gets cleaned up as quickly as possible," he added.
In answer to Markakis' question as to whether there was a required deadline for the work to be finished, the mayor replied there wasn't really any.
"Do you want us to say get it down in 10 days to two weeks?" he asked smiling. "We want to be fair with you because it's going to be a tough project."
Markakis had another request.
"When this starts can we get the street blocked off?" she asked.
She was reminded that the street is a state road and that she would have to work with the Utah Department of Transportation on those logistics.
And like the other requests she made through the night, her last one hit another dead end. Markakis asked the city to help with a situation concerning cars belonging to a resident that need to be moved before the building can tumble.
"We asked the homeowner to move them but he said we would have to do it because he's an old man and can't," she said.
Again the separation of civil and municipal reared its head.
"We are getting into big legal issues here," Strait said. "You need to get private counsel."