CITY OF FORT SCOTT
SPECIAL CITY COMMISSION MEETING
Minutes of November 20, 2020 Special Meeting #16
A special meeting of the Fort Scott City Commission was held November 20th, 2020 at 4:00 p.m. in the City Commission Meeting Room, 123 S. Main Street, Fort Scott, Kansas.
Commissioners Kevin Allen and Pete Allen, were present with President of the Commission Randy Nichols presiding. Lindsey Watts was absent.
AUDIENCE IN ATTENDANCE: Travis Shelton, Russell Lingerfelt, Dave Bruner, Nate Stansberry, Frank Halsey, Rachel Pruitt, and Susan Bancroft. Jeff Deane, City Attorney, and Jeff Hancock, Interim City Manager, appeared via Zoom.
Discussion on 10 N. National building and how to proceed
President of the Commission Nichols informed the Commission and audience that the purpose of the meeting is to discuss the deteriorating condition of the 10 N. National building and how to proceed. City Staff is here to report on the state of the building, finances, economic development interest in the building, and the process and procedure to go through to legally demolish the building.
Dave Bruner, Fire Chief, shared an engineering report from August 2019. This 2019 report states that the exterior of the building appears to be in sound structural condition with no noticeable settlement or cracking or deficiencies. All walls appear to be true and plumb. There are some minor locations where some tuckpointing would be necessary. Damage to the roof itself is very extensive and non-repairable. The first, second, and third floors have deteriorated to a point where they should be considered unsafe. They met this afternoon with John George. He shared photos of the building and roof today versus pictures from August 2019. The roof is in extremely bad shape compared to August 2019 and has collapsed now. Per John George, he still consideres the exterior of the building sound. There is collapse inside so in order to get a true determination of the inside, some demo proceedings would need to be started to look inside. They asked about the floor joints connected to the common walls. Apparently, there was a void space that was built between those in 1888 and those joists are set so if it would collapse, that was the way it was designed. There are little pockets in there. It is not secured to the common wall. Dave said that he went up in the ladder truck and removed some of the roofing material at the top.
Kevin said he received a call from Tina Lipe and she was concerned with the material being blown into the street.
Nate Stansberry, City Engineer, said that this building has been an ongoing saga. There were letters sent to the property owner back in 2016 to make repairs. He shared copies of the City ordinance regarding unsafe and dangerous structures. There is a 10 day period from the day the letter is received for the property owner to respond. There have been multiple letters sent hoping the owner would comply. The latest letter sent was in March of 2020 and they were told his resources were limited and he wanted to transfer ownership of the building to someone else. Another letter went out today giving the owner 10 days to respond. This will be on the December 1st, 2020 agenda to discuss this structure.
Kevin said that he talked to the owner today and he is willing to sign the building over.
Frank Halsey said that he was an interested party. Scott Johnson came to see him the other day but he was busy and couldn’t meet with him at that time. He looked at this building several years ago and looked to purchase it as a training center for Mid Continental. The roof had not collapsed yet, but they chose not to go that route. This summer the building was offered to him again, but he said no thanks. His fear is that it will be torn down and he doesn’t want to see that happen. He has spoke some to investors and at least three people are willing to invest with him. He does not want to own the building. Those that have invested an interest would be reimbursed eventually by a future owner. He doesn’t know if the City would want to put it in the LandBank or how that would proceed. He would like to take the structure down to a shell, and would like to see it actually collapse further.
Kevin asked Frank if he was still interested in the building.
Frank said yes. He still thinks they could get their money back.
Rachel Pruitt, Economic Development Director, said that this building has been on their radar for quite some time. The City would like to not have this building demolished. Frank talked about stabilizing it but not having long term ownership. The conditions of the building are preventing that currently. She did speak to some prospective owners this afternoon about the building and they did not say no. She said she would like the building to be put into the LandBank and she will continue to work with prospective owners to purchase this building.
Pete said that we have been four years talking about this building and it has just gotten worse.
Susan Bancroft said that if it was deeded over to the LandBank, there are some clear advantages. You get a clear title, versus a quick claim deed. The City would take over the building while it was being stabilized and take on that liability. If he did find some investors, that money could be ran through the LandBank and help stabilize that building. We do want to make sure we have an investor that is ready to go and that the City not sit on this property for years.
Kevin asked if the barricades were put back in front of the building.
Nate said that the barricades are back up.
Frank said that he will reach out to his investors.
President of the Commission, Randy Nichols, said that he felt this has been a positive meeting and we are now aware of the condition of the building, and the process to move forward.
K. Allen moved to adjourn the meeting at 4:32 p.m. P. Allen seconded. All voted aye.
ADJOURNED MEETING AT 4:32 P.M.
Diane K. Clay, M.M.C.