JACKSON, Ohio (WSAZ) -- UPDATE 7/11/19 @ 6:30 p.m.
For now, the sound of wind chimes rings outside of Elizabeth’s Flowers and Gifts in Jackson, Ohio.
The roof of the building at 165 Broadway in Jackson, Ohio is partially collapsed.
But soon that noise will turn to construction once the building next door at 165 Broadway St. is demolished.
"It’s been a worry and concern for several years and, yeah, I’m glad that it’s coming down. I hate to see an empty spot in the city, of course, but it’s better than an unsafe spot,” Liz Frisby said.
This is something Frisby, owner of the flower shop, has hoped for in her almost 20 years of working next door.
"You know, a good wind, a good storm, anything could bring it down,” she said.
Despite the good news, she still has some concerns about the building as it still stands for the next few months.
"There were some things that were spelled out that needed to be taken care of, which were immediate threats. There’s some blocks that are loose in the back, an air conditioner in the front and some glass that was loose in the window,” Frisby said.
Although the bricks were not mentioned explicitly in the agreement. As of today, just the glass has been removed.
We reached out to the owner who says that the air conditioner is too firmly attached to remove it from the outside and they're waiting for asbestos results before they can go in and remove it and go forward with demolition.
The agreement states that the owner needs to attempt to complete demolition by Sept. 13, before Jackson’s Apple Festival, something Frisby hopes will become a reality.
"It honestly terrifies me for the Apple Festival to come because there will literally be hundreds of people. There’s rides all on this street. There will be hundreds of people standing out here,” she said.
The Jackson Apple Festival begins Sept. 17.
If demolition is not completed by then, the owner needs to ensure that the building is safe to walk around during that time.
ORIGINAL STORY 5/2/19
Imagine working just a few feet away from a building that could collapse at any moment.
Even the mayor said it's the commercial building in the worst shape in all of town, but his hands are tied.
As it stands, there are blue skies through the window at 165 Broadway in Jackson. But rather seeing them by looking outside from indoors, it’s visible through the partially collapsed roof.
There’s also a large plant blowing in the breeze in the second-story window, located next to Elizabeth's Flowers and Gifts.
"I guess it's kind of ironic,” said owner Liz Frisby.
It's a constant worry, especially on windy days.
"We heard something and thought something had happened out here (in the alley). It was nothing. We realized things are falling and shifting inside the walls of this building."
From the entryway at the front of the abandoned building, you can see the shift in the space above the door. In the back alley, there are shards of glass from the broken window.
But the best look at the damage is from above. It’s obvious the building is no longer fit or even safe for people, though it does seem popular with the pigeons.
Frisby has worked next door 20 years and said it's gotten a lot worse in the last two to three years.
Her building is owned by Richard Fite whose father and 11 aunts and uncles were raised inside.
Now, every couple months he has to pay someone to fix his roof because of the adjoining blight.
"Hell, it worries me to stand right here and think it's going to fall and hit me on the head,” Fite said. “It's a shame the city of Jackson has to have something like this downtown."
Jackson Mayor Randy Heath agrees.
"It really needs to come down," he said.
But he adds its age and proximity to others make it likely an expensive demo. Plus no one knows if there’s asbestos inside.
"Right now we're in such a financial crisis, it's very hard to justify,” Heath said. “Do we have a police officer or do we take care of this building?"
He said a previous owner got several letters from the city. Now that it's under new ownership, that person will get a letter.
After we asked about legal action, he promised to talk to the city attorney about possible action by Friday.
"We pray that the owner who owns it now will finally address the situation and hopefully very, very soon," the mayor said.
But Frisby is frustrated years of inaction has led to this, unsure by how many windy days she has left.
"We hope it falls the right direction I guess,” she said.
There is a land bank in Jackson County which has demolished nine homes across the county already, including four inside city limits. At least four more are slated to come down this year.
Heath said state law prevents those funds from being used on commercial property.