ARCOLA, Ill. (WCIA) — Business is slower than normal after part of a building in town collapsed. The 150-year old building downtown housed a contracting and real estate company on Main and Collins.
The damage is affecting the tourist town. Residents say, the building still looks the same. It’s blocked off because it’s considered unsafe, but the mayor says a structural engineer has finally said there will be progress on the building soon.
“It has been slow. Even looking down the streets, there’s no cars. It’s just been very slow.”
Businesses, like the Olde Brick Wall, thrive off tourists every summer. But, there haven’t been as many this year.
“When we do get somebody, they’ll come in and say how dead it is downtown.”
“It’s affecting the other businesses in town. We’re very tourist-oriented so it kind of brings that to a halt.”
The entire block was closed for weeks. Pat Johnson says it’s all anyone in town is talking about. Visitors still drive by to see the destruction, but just recently they were told good news.
“The insurance company’s working with the engineers to shore up the building to make sure it’s safe to go in and continue on to do a rebuild.”
The rebuild could take a while, but Larry Ferguson says they’ll do it brick-by-brick.
“They’re going to have to. As you can see, that’s the part that has to be shored up too, taken down to rebuild it to make it safe. That’s just part of it.”
Until that happens, businesses on the street say, “Come on in.”
“We are open and ready for business. We welcome everybody.”
The big rebuild will be on the east side of the building. The back side came down a few months ago and was fixed, so that part is safe. The structural engineer says the front of the building is also fine.
The mayor says the collapse might affect two events this summer: the car show in June and September’s Broom Corn Festival.