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Hold that wrecking ball

Andy Ouriel • Feb 27, 2014 at 9:43 AM

A federal agency overseeing design and construction management across the country opposes ongoing demolition at the Keller Building.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers representatives are protesting work well underway to tear down the blighted building in downtown Sandusky.

Watch video of the demolition so far by clicking HERE

In short, representatives claim city officials failed to submit all the necessary documentation — photographs, site plans, sketches and more — to the Ohio Historic Preservation Office before demolition started.

The Register independently obtained this email, sent to Sandusky engineer Aaron Klein, summarizing what the city may have done wrong.

Bruce Sanders, an agency spokesman based in Buffalo, N.Y., verified the message.

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is currently coordinating with the city of Sandusky to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the permit we issued to them,” Sanders told the Register. “This is an ongoing investigation. I can say that the city of Sandusky has cooperated with the corps of engineers and communications are ongoing.    

Our staff will continue to coordinate with all involved parties to ensure compliance with all applicable federal laws”

City commissioners contend they’ve acted properly in pursuing the demolition.

They pointed to an October 2007 agreement between three entities: the city of Sandusky; the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office.

The contract, which expired in 2012, called for city officials to “secure and contain the building from further structural damage” and “market the building for redevelopment”

City officials believe they’ve fulfilled their obligations during this time by:

• Axing the Keller Building’s chimney after gusting winds apparently caused a brick to dislodge in early 2012.

• Fortifying other deficiencies in and around the structure.

• Developing the nearby area, such as debuting the Paper District Marina in 2011.

• Allowing prospective developers to tour the building to possibly salvage and transform the property into something viable, such as apartments.

“I am not a bit concerned,” said commissioner Dick Brady, referencing the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ stance.

Said city commissioner Dennis Murray Jr.: “The city does believe that it is well within its rights to continue with the demolition”

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