Building Collapses Create Safety Concern

It is time for Jamestown to be more proactive in how it handles the safety hazards associated with long-vacant buildings in the city limits.

Twice in the past two months, the city of Jamestown has had to issue emergency demolition orders for downtown buildings that have sat vacant far too long before collapsing under the weight of heavy snow and years of neglect. Buildings at 10-12 E. Second St. and 101.5 W. Third St. had both been vacant for more than a decade before seeing glimmers of hope for a new future before their roofs collapsed. Neither collapse resulted in injuries, but it is likely only a matter of time before a passing pedestrian or occupant of a neighboring building is hurt when decades of neglect finally catch up with yet another vacant downtown building. That is unconscionable for a city that is trying to fashion itself as a tourist destination.

We hope building owners with a conscience will undertake inspections and share the results with the city’s building inspector. If building owners refuse to do inspections, the city should find a way to compel the owners to vacant buildings to do so. Either way, the City Council’s Public Safety Committee should make inspections of vacant downtown buildings — like the former Viking Lodge building on Washington Street or the Arcade Building on North Main Street– a priority before someone gets hurt.