Crews hard at work with Goerlich building demolition
Published 12:14 pm Wednesday, December 9, 2015
The stalwart grey building near the entrance of Dowagiac’s downtown is standing on its last legs.
For the last several weeks, demolition crews with Melching Inc. have been hard at work tearing down the interior of the old Goerlich warehouse, located near the railroad crossing at the intersection of Railroad and Division streets. After putting up protective fencing around the work site, crews began removing asbestos material and exterior windows from the abandoned building.
Right now, crews are removing smaller elements such as doors, floors and glass from building, pushing the materials out of giant, truck-sized holes on the side of the building. On Monday, the contractors began moving their heavy equipment into town, in preparation for tearing down the large grey exterior walls keeping the building intact.
“Over the next week to 10 days, we should see most of the building down and on the ground,” said City Manager Kevin Anderson.
Rubble from fallen walls will be collected by crews and hauled to a site near the Dowagiac Fire Department on Wolf Street, where it will be ground into stone and stockpiled for future use by the city.
“We will use that stone on road and utility projects for years to come,” Anderson said. “That way, the material will still have some use for us, and will save us money down the road.”
During the tear down, portions of roads surrounding the worksite, such as East Railroad or LaGrange, may be temporarily closed to allow work equipment to move unrestricted around the building, Anderson said.
The demolition of the “old grey” building will wrap up a project that has been in the works for nearly the entire year. The city acquired the vacant former Round Oak Stove Company warehouse in May, and quickly set about securing grant funding for the demolition from the state’s Blight Elimination Program, which awarded the city with $250,000.
The grant will cover the majority of costs of the $392,000 tear down, with the city paying for the rest of the price tag.
Demolition work is expected to be wrapped up by Jan. 1 or sooner, the city manager said. City hall is currently working on landscaping plans to transform the vacant lot into green space next spring.
“We should have things ready for next growing season,” Anderson said. “It will change the appearance of the entrance to downtown, that’s for sure.”