The dilapidated former Brown Shoe Factgory on South 19th Street in Murphysboro is shown this past summer. The city has struck a deal with the property's owner to demolish the building.

MURPHYSBORO — After months of back and forth, the city of Murphysboro has finalized an agreement between itself and the owner of the dilapidated former Brown Shoe Factory.

Concern from Mayor Will Stephens about the three-story property along 19th Street came to a peak in 2017 when the city filed a complaint against Carl Hohman, the last known owner at the time, that required that he secure the building and its property. Officials later discovered Hohman had died and that his wife, Carol, was in charge of the property.

The chief concern was the stability of the building — Stephens said previously that the structure posed a significant safety and liability risk, not just for the Hohmans, but for the city, as well. He said it would be reasonable to assume anyone harmed or who had property harmed as a result of the building’s condition could seek legal action, not just against the owners but also against the city, because the building has for years failed to meet city code.

In May of 2018, the city was in talks with Carol Hohman about potentially loaning her money to demolish the building, and, City Council in November approved a tentative contract, which was signed Feb. 25.

According to the contract, which Stephens provided to the newspaper, Hohman has hired Rawson Excavating of Murpysboro to do the work. Rawson will collapse the remaining north wall, west wall and a portion of the south wall, and build a 6-foot chain link fence around the property.

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The cost of the project will be $44,500 which the city has agreed to loan Hohman to have the work done, according to the contract. The deal also stipulates that Hohman will pay the city after completion of the project, and that Hohman has put two Carbondale rental properties up as collateral against the loan.

The term of the loan is 10 years with 2 percent interest.

Stephens said he did not know an exact date the work would begin, but did say that if it did not start soon “I’m certainly willing to compel them to get started.”

Stephens said while Rawson has done significant work in Murphysboro before, due to the high profile of the property, he intends to have the city keep a closer eye on the project than it normally would a typical residential demolition.

“I think that it is important that we have folks there and just keep an eye on it as it’s happening,” Stephens said.

A representative for Rawson could not be immediately reached for comment.

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On Twitter: @ismithreports



Isaac Smith is a reporter covering Jackson County.

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