Freeport, Illinois — In a press release issued this afternoon by city of Freeport Community Development Director Alex Mills, the City of Freeport has ordered the temporary closure of sidewalks and the parking lane at 17 W. Stephenson Street due to increasing concerns regarding the building’s stability.
The release stated that Judge Glenn Schorsch is scheduled to rule on the city’s case regarding demolition of the building next week, but with a large snowfall having already occurred and another on the way, city officials feel that restricting access is in the best interest of public safety.
“The temporary stabilization measures that were done to the building earlier in the year were never meant to be permanent, the building owner has never completed any repairs, and as time goes on and weather worsens, we are concerned about the building’s stability and feel appropriate safety measures should be taken.” said Mills.
Mills stated that the building’s roofing system is in poor shape, and that adding more and more weight to it with additional snowfall could lead to unexpected outcomes. “We don’t want to guess or gamble on what could happen. The condition of this building is not getting better, and we need to protect public safety while awaiting the court’s decision regarding its future.” said Mills.
Both the sidewalk and the parking lane at 17 W. Stephenson have been closed with temporary concrete barriers. These barriers will remain until the building is demolished, or in the event that a court ruling addresses repair, until necessary and appropriate repairs are made.
The building’s stability became an issue in April 2016 when city officials condemned it due to the failure of a load bearing beam, which was the result of unpermitted work that occurred. City officials also discovered numerous other code violations at that time and instituted legal proceedings to force repair or demolition. A ruling is expected next week on Tuesday, December 20th .