BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – The owner of the former Iowan Hotel on the west end of Fort Madison said Wednesday that it may be late fall or early winter before demolition is completed on the building.
With just over half of the building demolished and piles of separated materials mounded on the property, owner Glen Meller said it may take another month and a half or longer to get the building down.
“I just got off the phone with DNR (Iowa Department of Natural Resources) today and they said they found some sprayed on areas that have asbestos levels that are just a bit high. He’s going to let me know what we need to do,” Meller said in an interview this morning.
“It’s not our fault or anything we did, we’ve just had to stop a couple of times to deal with that.”
He said his company, Meller Excavating & Asphalt of Fort Madison, can load and haul the materials, but they aren’t certified to remove it.
“They’ve come out and inspected us a couple times and each time they’ve found asbestos. So we have to hire someone to come out and remove it, then we can move on.”
But he said now the excavating jobs have increased and the Iowan demolition will be put on hold until he can find time to do it.
“We’ve just gotten a couple of pretty big jobs recently so we’re gonna have to wait about a month and half before we can begin working on it again,” he said.
Meller said he hasn’t seen any people roaming in the area and hopes they stay away for safety reasons while he works the demolition back into the schedule.
“If I had my way, it’d be down by now. I want to get it down and then try to sell the property but that’s just the way these things go sometimes.”
Nathan Stueve, environmental specialist with the DNR said there have been several inspections that have turned up asbestos.
“One inspection had been completed and they had done the abatement,” Stueve said. “We went out on another one and we found more material that had asbestos in it. They stopped doing work there at that point, per our request, until the rest of the material is removed.”
Stueve said DNR would probably inspect the location again to make sure the abatement has been completed.