MOULTRIE, Ga. -- A crack in an adjacent building has caused the City of Moultrie to postpone demolition of the former Sportsman restaurant, pending the signing of a liability release, City Manager Pete Dillard said Tuesday.
The city council was set to consider a $260,919.41 bid for the building’s demolition and the land’s subsequent transformation into a beautified passageway, but the question was derailed because of the crack.
“That crack has been there for 30 years,” Dillard said. “We’re just afraid if we have vibrations [it] could fall.”
Damage could include loosening of the building’s brick veneer, or the facade could even fall onto the sidewalk. In that worst-case scenario, workers or passersby could be injured, although the sidewalk and street will be blocked to prevent through-traffic. The issue is actually more about property damage and costs, rather than a risk to public safety.
Dillard said the owner of the neighboring building, to the north of the Sportsman, said he would brace the cracked wall.
As the Sportsman building has no outer walls -- only a roof, front and back -- the owner of the neighboring building should take responsibility if construction causes the crack to worsen, Dillard said.
“We had asked for a mechanical engineer to give an opinion on what type of bracing they needed to keep that from happening and that’d be their bracing, not ours,” he said.
The owner did bring in a mechanical engineer, Dillard said, but concluded that no bracing was needed. All contractors that the city brought in said differently. They were afraid to do anything for fear of the damage the crack could cause.
“We just don’t want to move ahead until we have that release of liability because the problem is not something the city can do,” Dillard said. “The problem is there’s a problem with that building that has nothing to do with what the city’s doing. We just can’t have the city blamed for something that is not the city’s responsibility.”
Things are at a standstill at the moment as the owner isn’t agreeing to the release. The hope is that the two parties can resolve their situation, Dillard said, else the city will have to abandon the project.
Also at the Tuesday meeting, city council performed a first and second reading for rezoning requests at 339 Doc Darbyshire Road and 14 25th Street S.E., and approved a $183,740 bid for road striping improvements and a budget amendment.
Hearings for the rezoning requests will be held on June 2.