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Thursday, Sep. 1, 2016

House removal project in full swing

Thursday, April 3, 2003

Steve Ferrell with Ferrell Excavating in Sikeston demolishes a structure at 836 Agnes St. Wednesday
(Photo by Jill Bock, Staff)
SIKESTON - Steve Ferrell with Ferrell Excavating worked the excavator's bucket like a giant hand. It slowly reached across the debris, grabbing roof timbers and crushing walls then tossing the splinters to the ground.

Then the walls came tumbling down at 836 Agnes St. Wednesday morning.

The house, Ferrell said, is the fourth of eight his company is slated to remove as part of the efforts of Sikeston's new Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority.

"It doesn't take but a few minutes to get them down," Ferrell noted. However, the debris' removal requires more time, he said, explaining it must be loaded on trucks and taken to the landfill in Dexter.

Sikeston's Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority has authorized the removal of eight houses in Sikeston this spring as the first step in their effort to remove dilapidated and dangerous buildings in the community.

In addition to the house at 836 Agnes, also slated or already demolished are buildings at 831 Agnes, 602 Branum, 533 Coleman, 215 Luther, 216 Westgate, 1109 Osage and 107 Thompson.

Sikeston's Director of Public Works Tom Bridger compared the LCRA's efforts to the Weed and Seed program. "The tearing down is the weeding out. You have to weed it out before you can begin to seed," said Bridger. Eventually the LCRA will redevelop the lots, he added.

For now, however, LCRA members are looking for more funding for their efforts. On Monday the commission members will meet with the Sikeston City Council seeking their support of a grant application.

Boardmember Mike Bohannon said the grant application requests $125,000 from the state of Missouri through a federal program. The application deadline is May 15 with the board members expected to learn later this summer if the money will be received.

"People have indicated they are very glad we are doing this," said Bohannon. "We are still looking at different sources of funding but we are going to make headway."

And there are people watching. The noise of the excavator Wednesday morning drew neighbors outside their houses to watch the demolition.

W.A. Morgan, a 50-year resident along Agnes Street, leaned against his cane watching the walls and siding fall to the ground. It is just one of several houses he said needed to be torn down in his neighborhood.

Asked if this would make a difference in his neighborhood, Morgan surveyed the street, then offered: "I hope so."