The City Council on Tuesday night gave Randy and Laura Dryer three more weeks to show progress in their plan for demolition of the leaning building at 912 Front St.
When they received an estimate on the cost of bracing the the building to prevent an uncontrolled collapse, they asked the structural engineer who repaired the report for a less expensive plan.
Lynn Hicks, the city’s building official, said the engineer’s bid was based on bracing the wall in preparation for renovation of the building.
"We want to take it down," Laura Dryer said. "We thought surely in that case, the bracing would be less expensive."
Hicks said the engineer would need two more weeks to prepare a new plan.
Alderman Theo Jones asked: "How long have we been discussing this? Haven’t we had enough time?"
"Two years," Dryer said.
"Two years ago we were prepared to demolish the building, but the city and the Downtown Partnership encouraged us to sell the building to someone who would save it. They helped us look for buyers," she said
Several were interested until they got reports from structural engineers.
"We really, really tried," she said.
"Then when the building collapsed in Morrilton, the word was that the Dryers hadn’t done anything. That wasn’t true," she said.
"We just want it over with," Dryer said.
The Council voted to look at the project at the next council meeting on Sept. 13 to see what kind of progress the Dryers have made on resolving the issue.
The council also
• Approved, 6-1, adding a part-time administrative assistant to the Community Development Block Grant staff at a salary of $27,017. Alderman Mark Vaught voted no. Alderman Sheila Whitmore was absent.
• Approved the nomination of Duston Morris to the Bicycle Advisory Board.
• Approved a request for the addition of 230 feet of paved trail for the proposed Shady Oaks Bike Route, to connect to the Tucker Creek paved trail that runs through Gatlin Park. Peter Mehl made the request.
In addition, Mehl said the city has again applied to be a Bicycle Friendly City.
• Bryan Patrick, the city’s Director of Planning and Development, presented updates and amendments to the ordinance that defines a Planned Unit Development (PUD). The amendments were approved, 7-0.
• Voted 7-0 to hold in committee the consideration of bids for Stone Dam Creek Pathway until rights-of-way are confirmed.
• Approved, 7-0, a payment of $222,000 for the realignment of Old Military Road/McNutt Road at Donnell Ridge on property owned by Hartland Development Co.
• Approved, 7-0, an appropriation request from the Sanitation Department of $14,790 to repair a garbage truck involved in a fire.
• Approved, 7-0, an appropriation request to pay for expenses related to Civil Service Commission and entry firefighter testing.
Personnel director Lisa Mabry-Williams said two firefighters recently gave notice they were leaving, one to take a firefighter’s job in another city and the other to return to school.
Alderman Andy Hawkins reminded the council that the Taskforce recommended keeping vacant positions open.
Alderman Shelley Mehl said that until the Council has a chance to consider the recommendations, "They are just recommendations," she said.
(Staff writer Becky Harris can be reached at email@example.com and 505-1234.)