City, building owners continue safety assessment

Vermilion County
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DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) — Both the city of Danville and the owners of the Collins Tower are still working to make sure it meets safety standards.

On Thursday, city officials flew a drone over the tower to do an aerial assessment. The mayor says they are trying to get a better idea of the building’s structural damage. WCIA has previously reported the building is falling in places, and crews have had to block off certain areas to protect people on the sidewalks and in the road.

Mayor Rickey Williams says engineers will look at the aerial images and then make an assessment on what should be done. There is no timeline on when that process will be finished.

The owners of the Collins Tower say they are still working on renovating the building — starting with the outside of it.

Part of a statement from Jeri Collins reads:

We have developed a new partnership with Craig and Kim Campbell.  This is contingent on their group being awarded the downtown casino location. 

We are excited with this new partnership which brings new opportunity to the table.  As you know, we have had numerous setbacks
during the year since we purchased the tower.  We have had partners/investors come and go which set us back each time.  We feel that this new partnership will only move us forward in helping not only to renovate the tower, but to help bring more to the downtown area. 

The Collins say they have back-up plans if the partnership with the Campbells falls through and they do not get the bid for a downtown casino.

Mayor Rickey Williams says the Campbells are not currently in the running. He says they did not properly complete the application forms. There are currently two potential casino operators. The casino would be built on land off of Lynch Road, south of I-74.

The rest of the statement from Jeri Collins reads:

Over the past year we have obtained evaluations and quotes for renovations to the exterior and the interior of the building.  Our first and only focus at this time is the exterior of the tower.  We have requirements from the City of Danville that must be met prior to obtaining any permits to begin work.  We are working with a company from Kentucky regarding the safety netting.  We have received instructions from the Kentucky company and have sent that to the Mayor. 

We would like to begin work prior to the beginning of the new year. Decisions must be made regarding the type of façade to be used.  We have two options that are approved by the SHPO (State Historical Preservation Office).  

The first option would be terra cotta.  That is the most expensive option and I believe the most difficult along with the most time-consuming.

The second option is GFRC (glass fiber reinforced concrete).  We’re told
this would look identical to the terra cotta and is more cost-effective
along with time effective.  This decision will be made with our partners.  

A third option which is NOT approved for historic restoration would to be to use a more modern material such as EIFS (exterior insulation finishing system).  The third option would cost about 25% of the approved materials, but would not be covered under the historic restoration tax credit.

We appreciate the opportunity to talk to you and update the community.  We know how important this project is to the citizens.  We’re focusing on
safety first and know that the detour along Main Street is inconvenient, but is also currently necessary to protect the public.  We are working as
quickly as possible to remedy this issue.

Williams says the city received plans from the Collins this week about the tower’s safety plans. The city will review those — along with their aerials — before moving forward.

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