The demolition of two buildings on the square in Monmouth is running slightly behind schedule, which in turn is delaying the completion of another downtown project.
Asbestos abatement work must be completed before the buildings can be torn down. Once the space is cleared, the Buchanan Center for the Arts will then take control of the lot and build a public green space.
“We are making lemonade,” said Susan Twomey, Executive Director of the Buchanan Center.
“Nobody likes to think of these old buildings coming down but they are in such bad repair it would be several million dollars to make them structurally safe again so it’s just not feasible.”
Twomey is optimistic the buildings will be torn down before the end of the year.
“What I’m hoping to do is when the building comes down is salvage as many bricks as possible,” Twomey said. “I would like to reuse the bricks in the green space so we can keep some of the footprint of the original building in the space.”
Construction of the green space will take about a month. Twomey said if they run into cold weather the project will be delayed until spring.
The space will include greenery, rest areas, and be enclosed by a wrought iron fence.
“I’m hoping at some point down the road we can have a sculpture design competition and maybe put a piece of public art in the space. I would also love to put a mosaic mural on the back wall.”
The Pattee Foundation is providing the funding for both the demolition of the buildings and the construction of the green space.