CORUNNA — The owner of the damaged Cleveland Bail Bonding building in downtown has until the end of July to make city-required repairs to the property; otherwise he will be left with the bill from a licensed contractor the city will hire to do the work.
The deadline for improvements was agreed upon by the city council Monday, after owner Eric Cleveland’s building failed its most recent inspection by city building official Bob Delaney.
“I told him it’s got to be done. You’ve had months with absolutely nothing done. And I know he’s told me he’s got other jobs he’s currently working on, but I can’t help his schedule,” Delaney said.
“You go down Main Street, look at the building and it’s an eyesore. The work I outlined with him will make it more presentable. I’ve made it very stern: This has got to be done.”
The building, 123 N. Shiawassee St., suffered significant damage in July 2018 when the neighboring Cavalier Bar caught fire and subsequently collapsed. Portions of the remaining structure, including an exposed interior wall and a collapsed roof, are code violations, according to Delaney.
During a public hearing regarding the damaged structure June 17, Cleveland agreed to make the necessary repairs to the exposed interior wall and the collapsed roof by July 1 with the understanding that if he did so, the city would take no action against him.
In two weeks time, Cleveland placed vinyl siding along the wall and installed a temporary roof, but the changes were unsatisfactory, according to Delaney.
“It has to be made weather tight,” Delaney said. “He stopped short of completely sealing the gap between the first and second floor. That whole wall is not secure, you can move it back and forth. That’s all going to be torn down. He’s going to put up steel siding instead, and use bricks and mortar to patch the remainder of the wall up near the little window.”
Given that the changes were not made before July 1, the city council voted to impose a final deadline of July 31 for the repairs. If Cleveland fails to bring everything up to code in time, the city will hire a licensed contractor to do the renovations, leaving Cleveland with the bill.
Inclement weather, inability to access electricity at the site and a busy work schedule have made completing the restoration more difficult, Cleveland said.
“I’m working during the day (as an independent contractor) so I can eat, you know, and then I gotta come up here and start that generator, and, you know, people aren’t wanting to listen to that stupid generator because I have to do this,” Cleveland said.
Delaney, City Manager Joe Sawyer and council member John Lawson met with Cleveland Tuesday. Delaney said he’s working with Cleveland to establish a temporary power source at the site, after Cleveland said the city prevented him from restoring power inside his existing building.
“With overall safety in mind, we could not have hooked up power in that building the way that it currently is. There are exposed wires hanging inside,” Delaney said. “He had never brought installing a temporary power source to our attention. I can work with anybody and I’m always willing to lend a helping hand. We just want this project to get done.”
Furthermore, Delaney said he plans to meet with Cleveland each week to perform an updated inspection.
“I’m not going to wait until the 31st to take a look at it. In meeting each week, I’ll be able to have a better idea of where this project is at, and what actions need to be taken, if any, moving forward,” Delaney said.
Before the fire, Cleveland was preparing to sell the building. Now, he said he’s just focused on getting everything up to code.
“Once I get everything back up, I’m just gonna let it sit,” Cleveland said. “Everything is for sale though. I mean if somebody comes here and said they wanted to buy it, yeah, of course I’d sell it, but you see what we had before, it was beautiful and we couldn’t get anybody to bid on it.”
Cleveland said the additional materials — steel siding and a rubber roof — will cost about $5,000. He said he placed the final orders for the materials last week at Home Depot.
“I do think I can have their orders done by July 31. If not, I’ll be so close that I think Bob would give me a week or two for an extension,” Cleveland said.