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ROCK FALLS City seeks grants for Limestone Building work

Environmental, safety studies needed for demolition

ROCK FALLS – The city has hired consulting engineers to help in completing an application for federal grant money to conduct an environmental assessment of a building along its riverfront.

The grant would be used to assess the Limestone Building at 201 W. First St.

Rock Falls hired Terracon Consulting Engineers and Scientists for $6,000 to prepare the grant application, according to City Administrator Robbin Blackert. The application is due in October, Blackert said.

As part of the process, public input must be taken, she said, and environmental issues and the safety of the area must be taken into consideration.

The federal money involves a "very highly competitive grant," Blackert said.

The assessments are the first step in going after money that would pay for demolition, Blackert said.

"The condition of the Limestone Building is not repairable," she said. "We need to deal with it. There is asbestos in the building. The building is not in condition where you can send people in and have them remove the asbestos safely."

"It is quickly becoming more and more deteriorated," Blackert said. "We may lose a wall. We want to deal with it before we get to [that] point. It's not structurally sound."

Blackert said she did not know how much the city could get through available federal grants. Money the city could receive would be used to pay for Phases 1 and 2 of the environmental assessments, she said.

The city needs to know whether remediation will have to take place. The Limestone Building was a manufacturing building dating back to the 1800s, she said.

"We'd like to see that building come down and more space for public use," Blackert said. "That's a highly trafficked area. If you go down there anytime, you see people sitting in vehicles, just watching the river.

"We'd like to open that up, make it safe and accessible."

Blackert said she is happy to see progress on the demolition. She said the demolition will be very expensive, which is why the city is seeking grant funds.

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