A historic downtown Conway building has taken on a potentially dangerous tilt, according to city officials.

The two-story building at 912 Front Street, which is currently unoccupied, was noticed to be leaning to the north during Conway Fire Department pre-fire surveys, according to Conway Fire Chief Bart Castleberry, and on Friday the city declared the building potentially dangerous, setting up orange barricades to close the alley to the north of the building and the sidewalk in front of it.

The building’s owner, Randy Dryer of Greenbrier, has been working with structural engineers and contractors to correct the problem by stabilizing the building, according to city building official Lynn Hicks.

"(Dryer) has made the effort and stayed in contact with me during the time frame and kept me abreast of what he’s doing in an effort to come up with some solution," Hicks said.

 But, Hicks said, if the cure isn’t underway by the next Conway City Council meeting, scheduled for Aug. 25, the council may vote to declare the building a nuisance.

The city’s nuisance abatement ordinance, approved by the council in April, gives the city authority to put the structure on notice for 30 days, after which time "it will be torn down and/or removed by the Senior Code Enforcement Officer or his duly designated representative," according to the ordinance.

Hicks said another option, should the council declare the building a nuisance, is to transfer the job of hiring an engineer and contractor to stabilize the building to the city and then bill Dryer for the work.

Dryer said Tuesday afternoon that he hopes it won’t come to that. Since being notified of the problem early this year by the city he’s contacted engineers and contractors, he said, and a few months ago he got a city building permit to allow PowerLift Foundation Repair Inc. to stabilize the building. PowerLift declined the job after looking at the structure.

"They started looking at it and said it hadn’t moved in years and years and years ... and they pulled themselves off of it," he said.

Dryer said he’s been working with other engineers and contractors since then. The latest plan is to tear down part of the north wall, stabilize the building, and then rebuild the wall, thereby correcting the lean.

"I think we can still repair it for about close to what it’s worth," he said.

Dryer said his father bought the building 49 years ago, and he was pretty sure the north wall was leaning then.

Hicks said he wasn’t sure when the lean developed, but "it’s one of those things that can be a danger and will be a danger, because one day it will fall if nothing is done. 

"It’s one of those things that’s really hard to judge and we did feel that the right thing to do is go ahead and push the issue by taking it to the city council to get the issue resolved," he said.

(Staff writer Joe Lamb can be reached at 505-1238 or by E-mail at joe.lamb@thecabin.net. Send us your news at www.thecabin.net/submit.)