Sedalia residents may have seen a large crane and construction barriers at the corner of Fourth Street and Ohio Avenue on Wednesday, but supporters of the Trust Co. Building want people to know they’re not tearing the building down, just restoring it.
Wednesday saw the removal of the turret on the south side of the Trust Building, due to public safety, said Meg Liston, director of Sedalia Downtown Development Inc.
“It lets water and pigeons in,” she said. “And people who work near here have called me saying they were concerned it was going to fall or that they had seen it move. It’s for public safety to get it off and sealed up. (The turret) is not useful for future use.”
Water was also running down the side of the turret and into the basement, causing flooding and water damage.
Workers from W&M Welding removed the turret Wednesday, and Liston, along with SDDi board member David Esser and his two nephews, Eric and Max Esser, took apart the turret to fit it into a dumpster for disposal. David Esser and Liston said the turret is not an original part of the building, as it was reconstructed and replaced after a fire in 1997.
A carpenter will soon close the opening for a “temporary fix,” Liston said, and make it easily accessible for future contractors who might work on the building.
Liston added that once a developer for the building is found, that person could replace the turret again if they wished to do so. The original building plans are still in existence so accuracy can be ensured.
The next step in the project will be fixing the interior support wall on the north side of the building, which Liston called the “most critical step.” Bids are expected to arrive within the next few weeks.
“When it’s all supported from the first floor to the attic, maybe then we can take longer to address the bricks on that wall because they’ve really deteriorated,” she said. “It didn’t have gutters or downspouts on that side, so the water ran down the wall for a long time, seeping in and weakening the supports. Once that is fixed, we think it’ll be ready for a developer.”
The goal of SDDi and the Friends of the Trust, a nonprofit organization formed last fall, is to fix some of the larger problems, such as the flooded basement and weak north support wall, in hopes of attracting a developer to finish renovating the building for public use once again.
So far this year, volunteers spent two days cleaning trash and debris from the building, which filled an entire dumpster, Liston said. Broken glass has been replaced, a few stairways have been rebuilt to strengthen them, and some broken support beams have also been replaced. Liston said several engineers have also looked at the building, and the group has a design plan for the north wall.
Liston said she hopes that once their part of the project is complete, a “developer will come and take a serious look at it. Some places look worse than they are, but it’s definitely a lot to take on for a new project.”
For more information about the Sedalia Trust Building, visit www.sedaliatrust.com.