MASON CITY — Demolition continues on the fire-damaged Kirk Apartments in downtown Mason City. The City of Mason City had started emergency abatement procedures on the property on Monday, but those were halted on Monday afternoon after a demolition contractor was hired by the property owner. That crew arrived on Tuesday and started demolition on the building’s north side on Wednesday morning.
Mason City’s mayor Bill Schickel says from the city’s aspect in dealing with the aftermath of the fire and starting the building’s demolition, the process has run about as smoothly as can be expected. “We want to get this open backed up as quickly as possible. Things maybe never run quite as quickly as we would like to. All in all, it’s been just an outstanding process, and really a credit to our staff and the community the way the community has been able to pitch in.”
City code requires that the site has to be completely cleaned up, leveled and seeded when the contractor demobilizes. Schickel hopes the land can be redeveloped at some point. “We’ve lost 44 housing units downtown, and housing is a big priority downtown. I would love to see an architecturally-significant project here that respects our history, respects the history of the Kirk. In every crisis, there is an opportunity, and I certainly hope that and feel confident that we’ll be able to turn this into a significant opportunity while respecting the history of the building.”
The initial demolition of the building is expected to be completed by the latter part of next week, with all the work completed in approximately three to four weeks. People are being asked to stay out of the Kirk Apartments area as the work is being completed.