April 25, 2013

Courthouse goes down

Courthouse goes down
Historic building torn asunder

By Michael Johnson
BHG News Service

While the start of demolition was scheduled over a month ago, it was still as shocking as ever for spectators who stood by while a large cable and backhoe worked to tear the historic McLean County Courthouse tower to the snow covered ground this past Friday afternoon.
It took not only a wrecking ball to weaken the structure, but a cable pulled by a back hoe to pull the tower down. Once the brick tower and radio tower were removed, the backhoe was able to go to work over the weekend ripping the building down.
For county employees, who made up the majority of the viewing audience last Thursday, it was a bittersweet day.
“It is sad,” county maintenance supervisor Curt Malo said.
He’s been working for the county for about 10 years and could recall several efforts to save the old building in the past that solved some but not all problems.
One included the very area the wrecking ball was impacting, near the soffit on the tower. He recalls it being full of bird nests because there was no soffit.
“It was so wet,” Malo said.
Other work included adding ADA compliant items to make it possible for everyone to get inside the building. It was also sealed so no more pests could enter the building.
“You guys put a pile of money into it,” Malo continued as he spoke to county officials nearby.

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