Heibel-March Building in line for demolition

Monday, May 21, 2012 | 3:56 p.m. CDT; updated 9:34 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, May 22, 2012
The Heibel-March Building is located at the corner of Range Line Street and Wilkes Boulevard.

COLUMBIA — After almost 15 years of disuse and neglect, the Heibel-March Building in the North Central neighborhood is back to square one in its long-standing history with the city.

On Thursday, the Parks and Recreation Commission voted to recommend that the city demolish the building. The commission sent a request to have a contract in place to raze the building by Aug. 1 to the City Council for its June 4 meeting.

There are no utilities to the building and the roof is leaking, said Mike Griggs, assistant director of the Parks and Recreation Department. Graffiti and a tree growing on the inside can be seen through a window.

The history of the building under city ownership dates to 1998 when it was purchased for $150,000 with the intent to make it part of Field Park. The renovation costs of the building were estimated at $200,000 to $250,000 in 2008. 

The North Central Columbia Neighborhood Association expressed interest in turning the building at the corner of Wilkes Boulevard and Range Line Street into a resource for the community. Since then the building has passed through the hands of a number of different organizations that include Central Missouri Community Action, First Chance for Children and Legacy Construction Group.

The building was originally a drugstore. It was most recently an auto parts store.  

"We hope there is an appropriate use for the building that doesn't include demolition," said Pat Fowler, president of the North Central Neighborhood Association, on Monday. "We see an opportunity for an alternative use that would be either a community gathering space or business location that would benefit the community." 

While the building has been in disuse almost 15 years, it does have a fondness with the people who live in the neighborhood, Fowler said. "There is great emotional value to that building," she said. "On the north side of the building are paintings by children and adults of Field Elementary School that show the history of the building."

Supervising editor is John Schneller.

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