City leaders considering Collins Tower demolition quote

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DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — City officials now have a quote for how much it would cost to tear down Collins Tower. That new estimate shows it would cost $1.35 million.

“It’s obvious they’re gonna have to do something,” said Monique Simonson, who lives in Danville. But what will that something be? That’s the question many in Danville are asking about the nearly 100-year-old Collins Tower.

“I actually was standing one day and saw something fall from it,” said Simonson. “This was before the barricades were up. There was a lady walking at the time, and she jumped, of course. And so it did make me realize they have to do something for the safety. Of course, now they have the barricades up, which is fine, but then that looks even worse.”

The decision to move forward with demolition would affect a lot of people. The tower is owned by the Collins Group. It also shares a wall with the county’s annex building.

“There’s a common wall in the basement in the Annex because, when both buildings were built, there’s some utilities that run, I have been told, through the walls down there, that are common for both buildings,” said Vermilion County Board Chairman Larry Baughn.

County leaders moved to the county building around a year and a half ago because of safety concerns. At this point, they have no need for the Annex and have ruled out the possibility of separating the two because of expense. They had a study done around 8-10 years that determined the cost of securing one building while still stabilizing the other, and that estimate was $25,000.

“We’ve been wanting to take action on the Annex for quite some time, but we just didn’t know where the tower was going,” said Baugh. Whatever is done, many can’t wait for the decision to be made. “At the end of the day, I think that, I mean, something has to be done, and I think the mayor is moving in the right direction to make sure that something is done.”

We reached out to the owners. They did not want to comment. They have talked to us about several plans in the past. Some of those plans included 1920’s-themed hotel, indoor amusement park and speak easy. They’ve also talked about plans for a restaurant, retail and living space. No word on where things stand right now.

If city leaders decide to tear it down, Mayor Rickey Williams says they would have to go to court and get a demolition consent decree on the grounds that the building poses an eminent threat. There is no date or even idea in place for when the tower could come down. City leaders say this is just an idea they are looking into.

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