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Arcola takes legal action on collapsed building

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Arcola building collapse (03/20/19)

The building on Main Street between North Locust and Collins streets in downtown Arcola, which has not been fully repaired since collapsing in April.

ARCOLA -- What officials say is a lack of progress on a building that partly collapsed last year has led to legal action against the owner.

A lawsuit filed this week by the city of Arcola seeks a court order for the owner to demolish or repair the building, or to allow the city to demolish it and be reimbursed for the work

The front of the building in the 200 block of Arcola's Main Street is still open after part of the structure collapsed on April 26. The owner, Erica Thieman, has had some work done on the building, but there has not been enough progress in officials' view, said city Administrator Bill Wagoner.

According to Wagoner, the area of the building was secured adequately enough for the street to be open for the annual Arcola Broom Corn Festival in September, but little work has taken place since then.

Attempts to contact Thieman about the city's decision to pursue legal action were not successful.

The lawsuit alleges that the building's condition is "dangerous" because the collapsed exterior wall allows the interior to be exposed to weather and jeopardizes the stability of the rest of the building. It also alleges that Thieman "failed or refused" to repair or demolish the building within 15 days of the city's sending her notice about possible legal action.

A letter dated June 4 from city attorney Andrew Bequette is included in the case's filings. It stated that the building is a "dangerous nuisance" and said legal action will result if Thieman did not demolish or repair it.

The lawsuit was filed on Monday. There's no record yet of Thieman having been served with legal notice of the case nor any hearings currently scheduled. In addition to Thieman, the State Bank of Arthur is named as a defendant in the lawsuit because, according to the suit, it provided the mortgage for Thieman to buy the building in 2016.

The Arcola City Council voted to authorize the lawsuit during its March 4 meeting.

Contact Dave Fopay at (217) 238-6858. Follow him on Twitter: @FopayDave

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