The small, white dilapidated building at 221 E. Jackson St. has sat empty for more than a decade. The building formerly operated as a Maid Rite restaurant. It is described as a 720 square foot tool shed in McDonough County's property records.
Mayor Mike Inman said the building's deteriorating condition and high profile location across the street from Macomb's City Hall makes it a popular topic of conversation. "There probably isn’t a week gone by in the seven years that I have been in office that someone hasn’t commented about why," Inman said.
The Macomb Historic Preservation Commission has issued a certificate of appropriateness for demolition. That was a requirement because the property is within the city’s historic district. Inman said the city petitioned the Historic Preservation Commission to review the property and grant approval of demolishing it.
Inman said the city has tried to work with the owners over the years to fix up the property.
“I would tell you we have attempted to negotiate for quite some time with the property's owners and we have not been successful to either bring development to the site or bring the property up to code. So that’s where we are at,” Inman said.
Inman said, over the years, he has been trying to balance the community’s best interest with the rights of the property owner which is why the city did not take steps to demolish the building sooner.
But, Inman said that at this point, it is the city’s belief that the building is too far gone to be brought back up to code.
Inman said the city wants the owner to handle the demolition. The city has not yet established a deadline for the owner to take action, though Inman said the city will intervene if necessary.
According to McDonough County property records, Josiah Collins of Macomb owns the old Maid Rite building. He also owns the shuttered gas station at 303 E. Jackson St. That property is caddy corner from Macomb’s City Hall. Collins also owns the vacant building at 1177 W. Jackson St where numerous trucking containers, cars, and farm equipment are stored.
Inman said the city has issued the property owner written notice about compliance issues regarding his other properties.