Downtown building coming down|[2/23/05]

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 23, 2005

One of three large buildings in one downtown block will be torn down because city inspectors have found the structure beyond repair.

The Vicksburg Board of Mayor and Aldermen Tuesday authorized the demolition of the middle structure at 913 Washington St. Vacant for years, it had been used as a garage.

City code enforcement officer Wayne Scott said the building’s roof has deteriorated, leaving water damage throughout. Walls have also started to crumble and debris sometimes falls onto the front sidewalk, he said.

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“Our only recourse is to take the building down,” Scott said.

The cost of razing the building will be assessed against the property’s taxes with a 25 percent administrative fee added.

Demolition plans do not include either of the other two structures. All three are owned by the Farris Family Trust, in care of Joe Farris of Irvine, Calif., and have the common address. The three occupy more than half the block between Jackson and Grove streets and face west a block from City Front. All three are empty, but the southernmost structure has been discussed as a place for a proposed African-American Museum and Marketplace. The square footage of the building was not available.

The city has also spent about $8.2 million renovating downtown. That work includes $5.6 million on a downtown urban renewal project and $2.6 million for brick paving through the five downtown blocks of Washington Street between Grove and Veto streets.

A $2.6 million downtown art park is also expected to be completed by the end of May.

In other matters the city board: