MURPHYSBORO — It’s been about six months since a thunderstorm collapsed the roof of the former Gillenberg Furniture building on 10th Street in Murphysboro and caution tape still blocks off traffic around the damaged property.
In fact, much of it sits as it did in July.
The storm dropped a lot of rain in a short period of time, which led to the partial roof collapse at the historic building next to the courthouse. The building was connected to the Jackson County Supervisor of Assessments’ Office, and since the storm, portions of 10th and Chestnut Streets have been closed. This has congested traffic and limited parking around the courthouse, one of the busiest buildings in town.
Murphysboro Mayor Will Stephens said the city has kept a close eye on the property and said the mild winter has been a blessing.
“A heavy snow would impact the further stability of the building,” Stephens said.
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However, he is hoping for a resolution soon, likely in the form of a demolition. “I think the time for careful consideration has passed,” he said.
The primary snag has come because the Gillenberg building directly abuts portions of the county-owned Craine building, which still houses the public defender’s office. There is concern that the demolition of the Gillenberg building could damage the county’s property. County Board Chair Keith Larkin said this has meant a lot of talks with insurance companies and contractors.
Larkin said the Gillenberg party is waiting on an assessment of the condition of the county’s Craine building before starting with the demolition.
“That way, everyone is aware of where we are starting at,” Larkin said. This is needed in the case of any claims of damage to county property caused by the demolition.
Joe Summers manages the Gillenberg property for his mother, Shirley Summers, and echoed Larkin's and Stephens’ wishes for movement.
“It’s going forward,” Summers said, noting that he is hopeful the process will start within the next month. However, he said he wasn’t comfortable discussing details of the process beyond that.
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