City says vacant SIST property could collapse

Building inspected under court order
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Leader Photo by Tim Ryan This property at 214 S. Main St. owned by the Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology is in danger of collapsing, according to the results of a court-ordered building inspection conducted last month.

City officials say a vacant downtown property owned by the Samanta Roy Institute of Science and Technology could be one strong wind away from collapsing, but uncertainty over the future of the Shawano Redevelopment Agency is putting any attempt to address the problem on hold.

“There’s a lot of concern that building could fall over,” Assistant City Administrator Eddie Sheppard said at a RDA meeting Thursday.

He was referring to the vacant property at 214 S. Main St., sometimes referred to as the old Senzig’s building, which was one of two SIST buildings inspected under court order last month.

“There’s a wall that’s completely unhinged from the rest of the building and it could fall,” Sheppard said. “We have to make a determination. Do we actively pursue condemnation through the city with the Common Council leading this, which is a much more difficult process. Does the council want to hand that authority over to the RDA as identified in the (RDA’s proposed project) plan, or do we just want to do nothing and just let it fall over?”

Shawano Building Inspector Brian Bunke said the inspection showed major holes in the first and second floor of the building.

“Last fall (SIST) took out a permit to patch the roof where the water was coming in, but when they did that process, they disconnected the back wall on the second story,” he said. “So that’s just kind of floating out there as a brick wall. So if we got a certain wind from the east, there’s a possibility of that wall collapsing.”

Bunke also said the roof has collapsed at the back of the building where there is a single floor and is leaking.

“We’ve had pigeons in there nesting, dying,” Bunke said. “Last week, I heard a report of a raccoon in there.”

The issue was supposed to be referred to the RDA before the Common Council rejected a proposed boundary for a blight elimination district.

“If we don’t move forward with the RDA, then we’ll have to go through a series of letters of condemnation and maybe court orders to get that building torn down,” Bunke said.

He said that’s not the result the city wants.

“We want to try and save that building if possible because it is such an old structure and part of the city’s downtown,” Bunke said.