Officials with the wrecking company tasked with tearing down the Crowell-Collier building say there is no health risk to the community once demolition starts.
Tony Smith Wrecking Site Supervisor Aaron Bush said there was once asbestos in the nearly 100-year-old building, but the asbestos was removed in 2015 before a section of the complex was torn down.
“There’s no reason to be concerned. The buildings have been completely cleaned out,” he said.
In addition, Bush said the demolition company has been in contact with the Ohio EPA.
He said the EPA has been through the complex and given it the OK for demolition, and they also have the option to come to the site anytime they want to while the work is in progress.
“The only hazard would be the masonry dust — which we control with water,” Bush said.
The project to tear down the former publishing plant is a huge undertaking. The property spans nearly an entire city block.
Bush said between five and 10 employees will be on a site at a time, working for the next four to six months. The extended time frame is because crews will be taking the buildings down with traditional trackhoes.
Bush said the decision to implode a building is made within Tony Smith Wrecking, in coordination with the city of Springfield. He said in this case, imploding the building wasn’t a safe option.
Fencing around the site is scheduled to go up sometime next week.
There will also be eventual traffic lane and entire street closures as the project progresses.
Bush said the company is taking those precautions to keep people on the street safe from any falling debris. During one phase of demolition, they’ll also be boarding up windows at First Lutheran Church which is across Wittenberg Avenue.
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Crowell-Collier was once the printing home of the world’s largest magazine publishing company. It closed as a publishing plant just before Christmas in 1956.
The property was sold to Harry Denune in 1972. He used it to house his Dixie Distributing Co. motorcycle parts business.
The property caught fire in 1999 and again in 2011 before Denune sold it to Mosier Industrial in October 2011 for $1.5 million.
The once 900,000-square-foot structure occupied an entire city block, and was the largest in Springfield, before demolition of some of the property began in 2014. The structure currently has about 400,000 square-feet left to be torn down, including the smoke stack.
The city of Springfield received a demolition permit on July 11 of this year for the remaining sections of the building and approved the permit a week later.
It’s unclear if there any immediate plans for redevelopment of the site.
6 — Possible number of months to tear down remaining buildings
1924 — Year Crowell-Collier was built
400K — Sq. ft. to be demolished
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