Historic downtown building could be coming down - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Historic downtown building could be coming down

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A downtown building that's become an eyesore and a health hazard could be coming down soon.

A $1.2 million insurance settlement reached this week means funds are in place for the demolition and clean-up of the old Swanson-Nunn Building.

Just walking by, you can see the broken windows and structural damage on this building on southeast Eighth, and some neighbors 14 News talked with Friday day say they think that settlement could be a good thing for the community.

"It is an eyesore," said Joe Hayes, who lives near by.

The Swanson-Nunn building has quite a history in Evansville. It was a dry-cleaning business in the early part of the century, and later, an electrical repair business.

But many people tell us it's seen better days, and it's condition leaves some neighbors concerned.

"A lot of kids running around down here," Hayes says. "That could be dangerous, too."

Not just a physical hazard, but also an environmental one, tracing back to dry cleaning chemicals inside the structure.

"There are contaminants under the ground that are beginning to move into the public right-of-way," said  Director of the Evansville DMD Philip Hooper.

"Ultimately, you run the risk that they migrate off-site and present more of a hazard to other property owners," said Nick Cirignano, an attorney with Ziemer, Stayman, Weitzel, & Shoulders.

Attorneys tell us, for that reason, the city filed a lawsuit four years ago to recover money to deal with the structure.

Early in 2011, toxic fumes inside the Carver Daycare Center, once owned by Swanson-Nunn, prompted the daycare to close temporarily.

Now, a $1.2 million insurance settlement has been reached, allowing enough funds to clean up the southeast Eighth Street property.

"There's potential for a property transfer over the next several weeks," said Hooper. 

Something those who live near-by, are glad to hear.

"It'd be best to tear it down," said Hayes.

Those we talked with say it will be sad to see the historic building go, but say tearing it down would be the best solution for the community and the environment.

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