311 W. Main will be on city’s agenda, again

The owners of a condemned Main Street property have not turned in a timeline for repairing the building as the City of Danville was anticipating, resurrecting the possibility that the city commission could take action.

The property at 311 W. Main St. was on the agenda for Danville’s May 8 City Commission meeting, labeled “action requested” concerning a recommendation from the Architectural Heritage Board (AHB).

But Mayor Mike Perros said he had heard from an attorney for the owners, promising to provide a timeline for restoration of the building. That prompted city commissioners to put off a decision on the deteriorating building. The plan was for the timeline to be submitted to City Manager Ron Scott to receive the timeline and monitor progress of the restoration.

The deadline to receive that timeline — Friday, May 12 — has come and gone and the city has yet to see any timeline or “further information as to what’s going to be happening with that building,” Code Enforcement Director Bridgette Lester told members of the AHB Wednesday.

“So, the city manager has said this topic will be on the city commission agenda on Monday’s meeting again, for discussion,” she said. “They did not meet the timeline.”

Ben Kleppinger/ben.kleppinger@amnews.com
Vaughn Frey, Architectural Heritage Board member, speaks about the property at 311 W. Main St. during Wednesday’s AHB meeting.

AHB member Vaughn Frey said he would like there to be better assurances in place that alternatives to demolition are available if a property owner fails or refuses to fix a historic building that’s been condemned.

AHB member Julie Wagner said she is concerned “our policies lean more toward demolition than preservation.”

“How can we be proactive and step in and try to help here?” she asked.

Lester said there are local organizations, including the Boyle Landmark Trust, that are trying to help save historic properties. But it does still come down to what property owners are willing to do with their properties, she added.

Lester said later in the meeting she is aware that some people are trying to negotiate the sale of the property.

“There are multiple people trying to purchase that property from the property owners,” she said. “But again, that’s between the property owners; we’ll see how that works out.”

One of the owners, Ann Yager McCrosky, has said she has “big things in the works” for the building.

“I’ve owned it for the last three years. We’ve been working on it … I should have had a better plan and that’s where my inexperience comes into play,” she said in April. “I kind of bit off more than I could chew, but I have the experience now.”

The AHB has been discussing the building and trying to find a way to restore it since 2010, according to a letter from the agency asking the City of Danville to take action.

“Since 2010, previous and current board members have attempted to work with the property owners and code enforcement staff to resolve the building’s blight and safety issues, as well as damage happening to adjacent buildings,” the letter reads. “311 W. Main shares a common wall on both the east and west side, which means that two other properties could potentially be lost if this building is demolished.”

That letter is what prompted the building to be added to the city commission’s May 8 agenda.

Danville City Commissioner Denise Terry attended Wednesday’s AHB meeting. She said — speaking as a resident, not in her capacity as commissioner — in regards to the 311 W. Main St. property that “I don’t think it can come down.”

“There’s some attachment, some common walls there that are not separate,” she said.

The owners of a neighboring business to 311 W. Main St., Carol’s Bridal, were also in attendance at the meeting for a separate matter. They took the opportunity to thank the AHB for working on the issue for so long.

“Carol (Senn) and I would like to thank this board for their proactive stance on the property adjacent to us,” said David Senn. “We recognize you guys have tried. I remain a little skeptical as to things that may or may not take place … I haven’t seen anybody over there in the last couple of weeks working and I’m skeptical.”

Ben Kleppinger/ben.kleppinger@amnews.com
Julie Wagner, a member of Danville’s Architectural Heritage Board, participates in Wednesday’s AHB meeting. Wagner said during the meeting she fears current “policies lean more toward demolition than preservation” of condemned historic buildings.