BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – City officials were on scene Friday afternoon reopening 8th Street from Avenue G to the alley south after engineers reported the Humphrey building was shored up enough to remove the barriers.
City Building Director Doug Krogmeier said Friday at the scene, engineers hired by building owner Bryan Humphrey have reported to the city that the building is safe to reopen the streets.
Particle board reinforcements are visible on the west side of the building from the street level to the third floor. Krogmeier said he’s going to keep the parking spots on the west side barricaded off.
He said he, nor Fort Madison Fire Chief Joey Herren, have been inside the building to look at the repairs, but wanted to go in with the engineer.
The barricades on the north side of the building were pulled down two weeks ago after city officials received an engineering report that the concern had been addressed.
“He’s making progress to at least get the road open and hopefully that continues and he gets somebody signed up to make the proper repairs,” Krogmeier said.
The city initiated court proceedings against Humphrey in January citing the building was a public nuisance and safety issue.
Krogmeier said a court date was set for March 30th and those court proceedings are still planned and would now entail further plans to secure and repair the building.
“We’re still going to court on the 30th and now that will be just to talk about the plan going forward and fines. But until we get some major progress, we don’t know what the fines will be,” Krogmeier said.
The city barricaded the west side of the building in November blocking off the street after settling was observed in structural columns on that side. The city then put barricades on the north side in case settling would occur that could blow out windows and harm passersby.