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Xenia smokestack demolition delayed

Snow and frigid temperatures have delayed the demolition of the iconic smokestack on the former Hooven and Allison Cordage Company property, according to city officials.

During the demolition, the chimney stack, on Cincinnati Avenue, will fall onto a concrete slab that must be power washed to get rid of any potential asbestos residue, said Xenia Development Director Steve Brodsky.

“It’s been far too cold for far too long,” he said.

The demolition has not been rescheduled at this time, Brodsky said.

On Tuesday, between 125 and 150 people visited the site when the city opened it to the public for two hours to allow people to take photos and souvenir bricks.

The city purchased the former Hooven and Allison Cordage Company site in 2013 after the owner, National Land Developers LLC, failed to get investors for a proposed $52 million biofuel plant, which included $1 million match for the $1.9 million Clean Ohio grant. The city purchased the property for $230,000.

Initially the city planned to demolish the structure using explosives because the building next to it was going to remain standing. Since then, there have been foundation issues with the building and the city decided late last year to tear it down.

“Since there’s no building around it and we don’t have to worry about the stack accidentally falling on the building… we can easily get a crane in there,” Brodsky said. “We can use a more a more traditional crane wrecking ball demolition.”

Brodsky said the crane and wrecking ball demotion would reduce administrative costs and the need for additional city personnel.

The city council voted in January to spend an additional $44,000 to cover the cost of the smokestack demolition after a contractor determined it was unstable, according to a city sources. An engineer determined the smokestack was collapsing from the inside and there would be a significant structural failure within five years, Brodsky said.

The smokestack razing is the final component of a $2.7 million demolition and remediation of the brownfield site, funded through grants from the Clean Ohio Assistance Fund.

The estimated cost of stabilizing the smokestack, which can be seen from U.S. 42, is $244,000, Brodsky said. Every few years the smokestack would have to be reinspected and additional work would be required to maintain it during this time.

“We are anxious to proceed with the Hooven & Allison demolition in order to complete the necessary remediation work and move forward with redevelopment,” said Xenia City Manager Brent Merriman. “… While losing iconic structures that tell the history of our community is regretful, the Hooven & Allison site is indicative of just where Xenia stands today: respectful of our proud past, but opening the way for a vibrant future.”

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