The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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August 22, 2013

Owner: Damaged building on Joplin's Main Street could be saved

JOPLIN, Mo. — The fate of a building in the 900 block of South Main Street that was accidentally damaged more than a week ago is still to be determined, according to its owner.

Steve Melton, the owner of 918-920 S. Main St., said he is working with the insurance company of B&D Yard Builders to decide how to proceed with the damage to his building. The Joplin construction company was overseeing the demolition of a nearby building last week when a collapsing wall accidentally put a hole in the side of Melton’s building.

“Their insurance company is being real positive,” he said. “They’re in contact with me, and we’re working on a solution.”

Melton said the front half of the building, the half that faces Main Street, is still intact. The back half, an add-on to the original structure, is the portion that is damaged. One option, he said, is to remove the back half of the building and replace it with a parking lot.

Another option, if it’s feasible, is to repair the damaged wall and roof and keep the entire structure in place, he said.

“I’m hopeful that we’re going to save this building,” he said.

Melton, a cabinetmaker by trade, said he used the building as a “base of operation” for his repair work. He said that while the building is out of commission, he will move his machines elsewhere so he can continue to work. He said several church groups have offered to help him move his equipment out.

Melton said it’s also possible that he could move into another of the buildings on the 900 block, a few of which he owns, to continue his work.

“I don’t want to start tearing buildings down to the south of us,” he said. “This is my retirement plan down here on Main Street. I plan on fixing these buildings up over time.”

Melton’s building was damaged in the demolition last week of the former C.R. Davis Grocery building at 914 S. Main St., just to the north. The city’s Public Works Department said a portion of the grocery store’s wall “kicked out” during the demolition, injuring an employee of the contractor and knocking a hole in the northern wall of Melton’s building.

The grocery store was demolished on orders of the city because it was determined to be structurally unsound after its northern neighbor, the former Carl Adams building, 910-912 S. Main St., collapsed last month. And a fire just over a year ago destroyed the Rains Brothers building just to the north of that building.

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