OPINION

Time to let the old buildings go

Posted

No one appreciates and enjoys history more than I, which includes old homes and buildings that once were at the top of anyone’s ladder.

However, there comes a time when one has to be realistic.

Get off the pot might be a better way to say it.

A classic issue is in the making right now in Mount Olive.

Two historic buildings in the downtown district, as well as an early-day, once-majestic, two-story home, face the wrecking ball unless something is done.

The structures are the old Center Street Theatre, the Kraft Studios building and an old residence on North Chestnut Street.

All three are eye sores.

The theatre and Kraft structures have safety issues and either could collapse at any time.

Condemnation action is already in the works, and town attorney Carroll Turner sent all three owners a registered letter asking them to appear at the July meeting of the town board to give some concrete direction as to their plans to bring the structures up to town codes.

Only one responded — an attorney for the theater building owners.

He told board members he had an engineer inspect the building and his report showed the building as a sound structure.

But, like Perry Mason, Turner rebutted and showed a slide presentation of pictures of the structure taken by a drone.

It turns out the roof has collapsed and is getting worse daily.

Ooooops!

There is no way that will work when people walking by it are in danger as well as motoring traffic.

The walls could cave in at anytime.

It is also beside a popular restaurant.

No one wants to see a historic building demolished, but with the situation as it is the town could easily be held accountable if the building collapses and someone is killed.

Even worse, the property owners denied the request of the town to have inspectors go inside the building and assess the situation as it is. Turner said he has considered getting a search warrant to have it inspected.

The property owners have been given until September to details their plans.

There is going to be a lot of rain to fall between now and September, and pour into that building with a roof already collapsed.

Town officials have but one way to go in protecting people in the downtown area.

They have already bent over backwards to help and property owners have repeatedly ignored them.

Time has come to get realistic.

Hopefully, September will not be too late, because a hurricane could bring havoc on that corner.

William Holloman is a staff writer for the Mount Olive Tribune. He can be reached at wnh9326@gmail.com.

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