Historic building in downtown Osceola to be demolished

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OSCEOLA, Mo -- One of the oldest buildings in Osceola is crumbling to pieces and will now have to be torn down. Workers noticed the roof of the century old building was caving in last week.

On the west side of the square in Osceola lies Missouri Specialty Electronics. The mayor says it has been operating in that building for the past decade. But on April 19th, roofers who were working on the building next door, noticed something wrong.

"Some of the bricks on the wall were pulled down," said Osceola mayor Dustin Gibbs. "So they got a ladder and looked over and discovered that the roof of the building adjacent to it had settled in on its ceiling joists."

For safety reasons, all of the buildings on the west side of the square were evacuated and the road was shut down. An engineer was called in, who ruled the building unsafe and recommended that it be condemned. City leaders agreed, and decided the best option was to tear it down.

"The building beside it was marked 1889 and I believe that one is older than that." said George Hankins, who owns Harper's Service Station, down the block from the condemned building. "We used to spend all of our weekends riding around the square and it is really sad to see these old buildings have problems like that."

Shortly after the engineer checked out the building, it was ruled that it was safe enough to open the streets back up and people could return to the other businesses on the block. Because of the structural damage, a decision was made to not only demolish the electronics store, but also the bank building beside it.

"The president of the bank," explained Gibbs. "Decided he would just tear his building down too and buy the property next to it and build a larger new bank."

The demolition is set to begin in the next couple weeks and should last until sometime in June.

"We still have a lot of history. It'll be sad, it'll take us a while to overcome it." Hankins said.

"But once the bank gets their nice new pretty building on the corner it will help a lot." Gibbs said.

The road in front of the condemned building will be closed during the entire demolition process.