SHAWNEE, Okla. (KFOR) – Several Shawnee residents are concerned about what’s left of the abandoned hotel on East Main Street. Months after the building caught fire and burned, the charred rubble is now being hauled off. For many Shawnee residents who live nearby, the cleanup couldn’t come soon enough.
Cleanup is finally underway. It’s been sitting there since it burned down at the beginning of December last year. City of Shawnee officials tell us they just began cleanup a few days ago.
“The building was unfortunately lost. The roof caved in and then the second floor caved in. And then the wall started to crumble. At that same time we also had a Christmas parade scheduled for the very same day. So, the city made the decision to knock in the walls because we did not want any participants of the Christmas parades to be in any danger,” said Andrea Weckmueller-Behringer, City Manager for the City of Shawnee.
After the abandoned hotel burned, the property owner was supposed to take care of the cleanup.
The Shawnee City Manager says they took the building to a hearing on Jan. 22, and within the required 48 hours, the property owner pulled the demolition permit to take care of it themselves. But that never happened.
“That demolition permit gives them 180 days in which to finish the work. When we came back, once the permits expired on July 25 of this year, we saw that there was no work done. And at that point, the city had had the authority to go out for a bid for a demolition company to do the work at city cost,” said Weckmueller-Behringer.
The store manager at Big Dig, which is located across the street from the property, says she and her customers are pleased something is finally being done.
“The customers are still coming in, but they do complain of the eyesore across the street… I am super excited that it is getting cleaned up. I watch it daily. I count how many loads they’re taking out a day. It will be nice to have a nice clean slate over there,” said Stacey Pearson, store manager of Big Dig.
One lifelong Shawnee resident is ready to see Main Street back to normal.
“That doesn’t look very attractive…I was raised here, and I know what it was like…it’s just not the same,” said Diana McElroy, Shawnee resident.
We knocked on the home where the property owner allegedly lives, but no answer.
However, they’ll still have to foot the bill for the cleanup.
“We then in turn roll that cost over onto the property owner. But what you see behind me right now is the contractor that the city obtained to take down the building and make Main Street look a little better,” said Weckmueller-Behringer.
As for what’s next for the property, that’s up to the property owner who still owns it. The City of Shawnee says cleanup should be finished within the next week.