The Beaver Dam, Wisconsin, City Council was scheduled to vote on a large remodeling plan for its downtown area on March 16, 2009. Among the planned projects in the renovation is the abatement of asbestos in nine downtown buildings that were set to be demolished.
A general contractor, WDS Construction, was secured on January 19, 2009, to conduct all of the Department of Natural Resources permitting, environmental testing, assessment of the job, and the hiring of subcontractors to do the labor. The maximum funds allotted to WDS Construction was $630,000
The city of Beaver Dam had only until March 31, 2009, to close the real estate deal on the nine properties to be demolished. These buildings were in the flooding path of the Beaver Dam River, and they were to be removed to prevent future problems with flooding. After the properties have been acquired and turned over to WDS Construction, the work can begin. WDS expected to begin asbestos removal work by May 2009, and then tear down the buildings after.
Due to the natural flooding levels of the Beaver Dam River, the work was to proceed during the summer months when the river is at its seasonally lowest point. There was concern raised about one building standing in the middle of the nine set for demolition. The building, Jay Hoeft’s building, 203 Center St., was to remain while the others around it were torn down, but neither the city nor the contractor conducted a study as to whether the building could stand on its own without the support of its neighboring structures.
The building’s owner was sent a letter on January 27, 2009, from the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, which stated its intent to seek a court order for the building’s removal.
Should the owner refuse to tear his structure down, according to the DNR Environmental Enforcement Specialist, Pamela Kober, the next step would be “…to request a referral to the Department of Justice requesting court-ordered removal of the building.”
“As previously mentioned, this request typically involves the cost of the removal to be borne by the property owner.”
It was unlikely that the owner of the building would comply in time for his building to be included in the demolition of the surrounding edifices. This would leave the city to work around his building for him to pay for its destruction at a later date. Nothing would be achieved by this except an increase in the cost for the project to the city of Beaver Dam.