CLARKSBURG — One lane of West Pike Street and an adjacent sidewalk will remain closed in front of the former Waldo Hotel while city code enforcement officers investigate the structure’s integrity.
The city barricaded the one lane and sidewalk Monday after some bricks fell there early Monday morning from the top of the six-story building, City Manager Martin Howe said.
“It’s going to be closed until we have a good opportunity to assess the entire situation and the facade that gave way,” Howe said.
“Our primary concern is for the safety of the general public, pedestrian and/or vehicular traffic in the area, and adjacent property owners,” the city manager added.
Chief code enforcement official Adam Barberio said the assessment will include a review of engineering reports from both the city and owner Vandalia Heritage Foundation.
The evaluation also will look at how much work the property owner has done to comply with a March 30 inspection by the city, Barberio said.
Any further action is pending the outcome of the evaluation, officials said.
That includes whether the sidewalks or streets around the rest of the building should be barricaded and whether the structure should be placed on the city’s demolition list, they said.
The facility has been under a condemnation order for three years. A condemnation order means the building has obvious structural deficiencies, but they do not warrant demolition.
The main recommendation included in the city’s last inspection was a roof repair and building stabilization plan.
Barberio said the city issued Vandalia a permit to replace the roof on Aug. 23.
He couldn’t say if work on the roof has started, because his office has not been contacted to do any progress inspections as required under the permit.
Martin Shaffer, Vandalia’s representative, said he has been repairing and replacing the rubber roof himself, as he is a licensed contractor.
Another roofing contractor will repair the slate roof, said Shaffer, president of the Waldo Hotel Preservation Society.
“Most of the roof is rubber,” he said.
As for the bricks that fell, Shaffer said it appears vegetation growing among the bricks on the southeast tower forced some out of place.
Shaffer said he has concerns about the tower facing Hewes Avenue, as well.
There are plans to repair both towers, starting with the Pike Street tower, he said.
Despite what happened Monday, Shaffer contends the former hotel is structurally sound.
The Waldo Hotel Preservation Society is in talks with Vandalia over the possible transfer of the vacant property. The group wants to repair the roof and mothball the building until it finds a developer interested in restoring it.
Another local group, Demo the Waldo, is calling for the building to be razed.
City officials said public safety takes priority over anything else at this point.
“This is a serious situation, as it is with any structure where there is debris falling,” Howe said. “It’s fortunate the debris fell very early in the morning, prior to there being much traffic on the street.”
Once the social center of Clarksburg, the Waldo has been vacant for about 15 years, and Vandalia has owned the structure for 11 years.
Laura Kuhns, Vandalia’s president and chief executive officer, did not respond to an email requesting comment in time for this report.