Early decision on Kirkwood Building badly needed

Letting go of old, venerable and familiar structures in communities is never easy. Just ask the people who tried some years ago to save the John D. Pierce building on the campus of Northern Michigan University from the wrecking ball.

On that particular occasion, organizers worked hard to raise funds to rehabilitate the the former class building and for a while, it looked like they might be successful.

In the end, though, the building was razed when money and interest both came up short.

In Negaunee, a somewhat similar drama is playing out with a structure known as the Kirkwood Building, which is a century old and as much a part of that city’s historic downtown as it could be.

Problem is, the roof partially collapsed May 16, creating what some worry is a hazardous situation.

The city wants to tear the building down and presented an engineer’s report suggesting it is unsafe and in danger of collapse.

The building owner, Eric Miljour, hopes to rehabilitate a portion of the building. He also has an engineer’s report from a different firm that suggests that is possible.

Demolition could cost as much as $300,000.

Where we come down on this is simple: Whatever happens, whether it’s saved or razed, it should happen sooner as opposed to later.

These kinds of places end up as magnets for kids and others, and it’s only going to be a matter of time before someone gets inside and gets hurt.

An early and final decision is needed.

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