City council to clean Observer wall 2011.09.28

Morenci city council voted unanimously Monday to attempt removal of the plaster remaining on the State Line Observer’s south wall following the demolition of the Dunbar Auction House.

observer_wallThe Dunbar property was purchased by the city earlier this year in anticipation of the demolition and the construction of a parking lot.

When the building was constructed in 1939, a north wall wasn’t built. Instead, plaster was applied to the Observer wall, and that’s what remains.

Art Erbskorn of the council’s Public Works committee introduced a motion to assist the business owners in attempting to clean the plaster off the Observer wall. Following a committee meeting at the site, it was decided that the best approach would be to use water to soften the plaster and then chip it off with a chisel. 

If the Observer owners decided the process was causing damage to the brick, the work would be halted.

Observer co-owner David Green said he and his wife, Colleen Leddy, have concerns about the use of the word “assist.”

“It makes it sound as though we’re sharing the responsibility where I don’t think it’s my responsibility,” he said.

“We’re trying to be good neighbors,” said mayor Keith Pennington.

“Not a responsible neighbor, just a good neighbor,” Green responded. “It’s the matter of responsibility that I’m concerned with, not just friendliness. You’ve left that on my wall and now you’re not taking responsibility for it.”

“I think the intent of the motion would be to take a step and try to resolve it,” Pennington said, “and if it doesn’t work, we’re going to have to talk some more.”

Councilor Jason Cook suggested removing the word “assist” from the motion.

“I think Jason is right,” said Observer co-owner Colleen Leddy. “The term ‘assist’ makes it sound like it’s our responsibility and you guys are just helping us out, whereas we’re saying it’s your responsibility and we’re helping you out.”

Councilor Tracy Schell offered an  amended motion: The city will take the next step in attempting to remove the plaster from the side of David Green’s building. If that doesn’t work, discussion with the owner will be continued.

The motion passed unanimously.

Verbal agreements were reached with owners of the Pizza Box, the historical museum and Johnson’s Gambles for easements that would allow work to proceed on the North Street parking south of the Observer office.

The contractor now believes that lot can finished along with the lots on the south side of Main Street. 

The North Street lot will incorporate 17 parking spaces.

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