CORUNNA — City officials have decided to delay action against the owner of the Cleveland Bail Bonding building for code violations until its next meeting, July 1, though owner Eric Cleveland expects to have required repairs completed before then.
The decision to delay action against Cleveland came during a public hearing on the issue Monday night. Cleveland was the only person to speak during the hearing.
The building at 123 N. Shiawassee St. suffered significant damage in July 2018 when the neighboring Cavalier Bar caught fire and subsequently burned and collapsed. Multiple portions of the remaining structure, including an exposed interior wall and a collapsed roof, are code violations, according to City Assessor Merilee Lawson.
Cleveland said he has been doing work on the property in the past two weeks, including siding an exposed interior wall, and removing the collapsed roof and replacing it.
“I started working on it (the roof) Friday night after work. I was working there until 2:30 a.m. (and) all the way until 6 p.m. tonight, and I just finished it. I only slept like five hours a night,” Cleveland said. “I only have to cover up that beam area now, but if I start getting better weather I’m gonna start putting the walls back in and start putting the roof back to exactly what it looked like before. By July 1, I’ll be way past their order. I’d like to have everything boxed in by the Fourth of July before the parade starts because it is an embarrassment. I don’t even like driving by the place. It’s embarrassing.”
When the Cavalier Bar caught fire in July 2018, the building collapsed onto Cleveland’s, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage, he said.
In the months after the blaze, city officials contacted Cleveland, requesting he make the necessary repairs to bring the structure up to code. After a meeting with building official Tom Ardelean, Cleveland was given a deadline to make repairs. The initial deadline was not met, prompting the city council’s public hearing.
“I would say the weather is the main thing that’s been holding me back. Normally if we would’ve had nice weather by now, it would be done,” Cleveland said. “That’s what I do for a living is construction, and I can’t wait to get back on it but I am so far behind.”
City officials were pleased with Cleveland’s progress Monday. Before July 1, council members agreed they would like to see the remainder of the exposed wall covered. After the work is complete, city building inspector Bob Delaney must give the final seal of approval.
City Manager Joe Sawyer said the city is simply working toward compliance in regard to Cleveland’s building.
“It’s looking great. I drove by last week and saw the siding and I was like ‘I’m hoping before the meeting he’s got more than just the siding done,’ and then I drove by this weekend and I saw you tearing off the roof and I’m like ‘We’re good,’ Sawyer said to Cleveland. “You’re not 100 percent, but you’re at 90 percent. I appreciate you jumping on it. I knew it wouldn’t take you long once you got on it.”
Before the fire, Cleveland was preparing to sell the building.
“We had everything cleaned up and ready to go, the apartments upstairs were the last thing we had to clean up, and me and my wife were just going to sell it and get out of there and then I could get into bail bonding later in the future,” Cleveland said. “I like working construction. I don’t make as much money, I made probably 10 times more bail bonding.”
Cleveland said the cost of recent repairs, siding the exposed interior wall and reconstructing the roof, is approximately $10,000. He said he is looking forward to having the project behind him.
“I just want it boxed in by the Fourth of July, with the walls up and the front facade and the roof boxed in, that means when you go in there it’ll be a concrete floor and it’s all framed,” Cleveland said. “I don’t think I can, but I think I’m gonna get like one more wall up before then.”