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Contract calls for Mason Jewelers building to come down by May 18

Friday, April 20, 2012

The former site of Mason Jewelers at 18 W. Washington St. will be razed before May 18 by Denny Excavating Inc.
An experienced excavating company that demolished the old Greencastle City Hall building in 2003 will be back in town this spring to raze more ruckus.

Denney Excavating Inc. (DEI), a Plainfield-based company that has 40-50 Indianapolis demolition projects on its agenda for this spring and summer, has been awarded the bid to tear down the old Mason Jewelers building at 18 W. Washington St.

The $35,000 bid from DEI was accepted Tuesday by the Greencastle Board of Works and Safety. Terms of the contract call for the old storefront on the south side of the courthouse square to be torn down by May 18.

The contract will also carry $5,000 in contingency funds in case the adjoining wall between Mason Jewelers and the old Central National Bank building, owned by Trudy and Greg Selvia, needs to be braced or shored up.

While the contract will be with the City of Greencastle -- which in February issued an order for the building to be vacated and demolished as an unsafe structure -- the fee will be charged as a lien on the property owned by the estate of Dot Mason.

At the February hearing of the city's Unsafe Building Authority, Mason Jewelers owners Steve and Scott Mason were in full agreement with the ruling, which came 15 months after the second floor of their building collapsed into the first floor. That occurred either late on Nov. 25, 2010 or early the next morning.

"It was Thanksgiving weekend," Steve Mason recalled of an incident that essentially destroyed the building out of which his family business had operated since the 1960s.

"It gave new meaning to 'Black Friday,'" Mason added.

The structure had been apparently weakened by a 1988 fire that destroyed the adjacent Mac's men's store building. Its condition was then compounded by subsequent exposure of what had been an inside wall to the outside elements of harsh Hoosier winters and summers.

DEI officials estimate the demolition itself will take a day and a half with another week to fully remove the debris.

While DEI was the lone bidder on the demolition work, the cost was within city estimates and the company's experience and attention to detail made DEI an easy choice.

Among the many Indianapolis projects DEI currently has undertaken are demolition of the Wishard Union Building, a $1.5 million job; razing of Winona Hospital, a $695,000 project; and tearing out the concrete bleachers at Bush Stadium, a $495,000 endeavor.

During the Mason's demolition, the company has promised to control off-site dust migration by continuously spraying water during destruction activities, and will have a licensed asbestos inspector on hand.

Once the building has been brought down, DEI will utilize excavating equipment to load the debris into 40- and 60-cubic-yard roll-offs.

After the structure has been removed, DEI will backfill the crawl space and footer voids. The building footprint then will be covered in topsoil, graded, seeded and covered in straw.

Board of Works members did not seem too concerned with the contingency funds, noting that the two buildings do not share a common wall, having been constructed separately at different times. And to date, the old bank building has not been breached by the condition of the Mason's structure.

Board of Works member Trudy Selvia, who abstained from voting due to a conflict of interest as the adjoining property owner of the old CNB building, can attest to that. She said she would be the first to know of a potential problem.

"My desk sits right on that wall," Selvia said of her law office on the second floor.

"We don't anticipate a problem," City Attorney Laurie Hardwick said in reference to the adjoining wall and the need for the contingency fund, "but just in case ..."

Mayor Sue Murray and Thom Morris, who join Selvia on the Board of Works, voted in favor of the DEI proposal.

Since the Nov. 25-26, 2010 building collapse, Mason Jewelers has moved to 10 W. Washington St., a few doors east.

The late Harold Mason started the business in 1957 in the Durham Building on the north side of Walnut Street (across from the post office parking lot). The shop moved to the square in 1964, initially occupying the storefront that had housed Mac's until the October 1988 fire.

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all I can say is, it's about time!!

-- Posted by dandygrandy on Fri, Apr 20, 2012, at 9:50 AM

They have done the best they could considering all the situation involved.

-- Posted by Wait a minute on Fri, Apr 20, 2012, at 1:32 PM

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