MASON CITY — Mason City’s mayor says the fire-ravaged Kirk Apartments building will be torn down in the near future.
During the “Ask the Mayor” program on AM-1300 KGLO earlier today, Bill Schickel said things should be finalized by the end of the week on a plan to demolish the remaining structure. “Obviously that building is going to have to come down now, and the property owner has been notified of that and is aware of that. A contractor should be in place by Friday to do that. That doesn’t mean the work will take place on Friday, but the timeline calls for a contractor to be secured by that time.”
While he did not immediately have the timeline on demolition work starting, Schickel says it will begin sooner rather than later. “We have issued information that that building does represent a safety hazard now. That’s why those surrounding streets and areas are blocked off. We want to restore that area as soon as possible. We hope to be able to move fairly quickly on that.”
Schickel says they want to get the area surrounding the Kirk Apartments opened back up as it’s having an impact on a number of businesses who have the sidewalk blocked off and have to use the back entry for people to come in. “Fortunately the Chamber and Main Street Mason City have chipped in in helping these businesses and notifying the public that the back entrances to those businesses are open. We have had some questions about people wanting to get back into that building to see things that may remain there. That presents a very difficult situation because of the danger involved there. We are asking that people stay off of that property.”
Schickel thanked the Mason City fire and police departments as well as the Clear Lake, Rockwell and Northwood fire departments for their efforts. “Thank you to the Mason City Police Department, Mason City Fire Department, firefighters and men and women from both departments helping to keep us safe, and our surrounding partners. It was most definitely a team effort. The building was evacuated safely, there were no injuries. Damage to surrounding buildings was held to a minimum. Yes it’s a terrible loss, but thank you to our public safety people for stepping in and doing such a great job, and for the community, stepping forward and helping out.”
Schickel hopes the property can be restored at some point into a similar structure. “The city is not the property owner there, but of course we’re going to work with the property owner. It’s important that something architecturally significant be done there that respects the history of that site. We talked about the housing needs in Mason City (at the city council’s meeting Tuesday night), so perhaps something along those lines.”
Downtown streets that remain closed indefinitely include: North Federal Avenue between 1st and 3rd Street Northeast; 2nd Street Northeast and Northwest between North Commercial and North Washington; 3rd Northwest between North Federal and Enterprise Alley; and Enterprise Alley between 3rd Northwest and the City Hall parking lot.
Schickel once again made his comments on the “Ask the Mayor” program on KGLO today. Listen back by heading to the audio player below