White Hall demolition delayed while grant obtained

White Hall will sit in its burn-scarred, collapsing state a bit longer.

The early-September start date for the asbestos abatement and demolition project was pushed back while permitting and a grant application processed at the state level. The wait proved fruitful as the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment’s Brownfields Program recently agreed to give $85,000 to the city of Grand Junction to help with cleanup.

“You can’t get reimbursed if you’ve already started,” Downtown Development Authority Executive Director Harry Weiss said, explaining the delay in the project, which was approved by the Grand Junction City Council in August.

He discovered the opportunity for the grant program designed to assist contaminated sites in need of remediation. Between the asbestos in the fire-burned sanctuary and the future plans for redevelopment, White Hall fit the requirements.

“They look at the nature of the contamination and one, if there is a public health consideration … and the second is the underutilization of the site,” Weiss said.

The deteriorating 1920s church at the corner of Sixth Street and White Avenue was destroyed by fire in September 2011. In May, the city took ownership of the property after the former owner, Rosemarie Glas, didn’t follow through with plans to demolish it.

City officials then partnered with the DDA to change the building from its current state of eyesore into tax-producing, private property.

The total cost for the demolition in the main sanctuary is $313,650. Asbestos in the roof that is now mingled with debris will be controlled from becoming airborne through the use of a foaming agent or water, city officials said. Also, air will be monitored to protect adjacent buildings from contamination.

Meanwhile, the contractor has been waiting for the review and approval of a permit for the abatement, Weiss said. Both will likely be ready about the same time.

“We’re plugging along,” he said.

A project start date hasn’t been determined. In the meantime, the DDA is looking into the next phases of redevelopment of the property.


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