City official says Humphrey building still not secure

BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
PCC EDITOR

FORT MADISON – An Friday inspection of the Humphrey building in downtown Fort Madison has left city officials leery of repairs made to date.

According to Fort Madison Building Director Doug Krogmeier, an inspection was done to determine the current structural integrity of the building and see what repairs had been done inside to secure the structure owned by Bryan Humphrey.

The building has visible settling that has occurred on it’s west side. Workers have put boarding in about three stories high on that side in an attempt to secure falling brick and additional shifting.

Along with Krogmeier, Fort Madison Mayor Matt Mohrfeld, Fire Chief Joey Herren, and Humphrey’s engineer, along with several firefighters went through the building.

An initial court hearing initiated by the city with regard to the structure is set for Tuesday in North Lee County Court.

Krogmeier said some stabilization work had been done, but it was done 10 months ago and bricks have continued to fall onto the city sidewalk, as additional shifting has occurred.

“Their engineer says it’s stable, but it’s our determination more work needs to be done,” Krogmeier said.

“We’ll forward that to our attorney and he will take it up with them in court.”

Herren said he took that shift of firefighters through the building so they would be aware of what the inside looked like should something happen.

“I wanted those guys to see what it was like in there. It would be a very dangerous situation for us if that were to catch fire or collapse,” Herren said.

Krogmeier said there needs to be additional substantial shoring up of the building before any actual repairs, if planned, can begin.

The city closed off 8th Street from Avenue G to the alley between Avenues G and H in the fall of 2019, but reopened the stretch of roadway about six months ago. The sidewalk along that stretch of 8th Street remains closed to the public.

Mohrfeld said when the city filed for a hearing that if the repairs weren’t made prior to any trial before the court, the court could impose an order required repairs be made or authorizing the city act.

“If the conditions are not abated voluntarily before trial, the City will seek a court order requiring the issues to be rectified and authorizing the City to rectify them if the defendant does not comply with the order,” Mohrfeld wrote to the Pen City Current in January.

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