2009-12-13 / News

Montrose fire cleanup delayed by red tape

Owner saddened by loss of building his father built
By Jeanne Marcello Staff Reporter

MONTROSE – Steve Gold, owner of the downtown Montrose building that burned down Friday, Dec. 4, approached the Montrose City Council at their Dec. 10 meeting to address the questions about the cleanup of the charred property.

Gold, who is president of the Montrose Downtown Development Authority (DDA), was out of town when the fire occurred. He returned to take care of the mess, but the process is taking much longer than expected.

“I had to apply for a demo permit,” Gold told the city council, “There are a lot of procedures that have to be done first.” He talked about water and soil samples that were taken and sent to a laboratory for analysis.

“How long the building will be there? I don’t know,” Gold asked and answered. He explained that he had talked with someone from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) in Lansing said he was satisfied, but he is the “underground guy.” “You have to have a clean air permit before tearing it down,” he continued.

Gold said he had spent time with insurers. “I have no idea what they’re going to pay me. I don’t know if I’m going to rebuild,” he said.

City Manager Frank Crosby told the council, “Right now it’s frozen. There’s nothing he can do. It’s unsightly. No one regrets that more than Steve. But he can’t do anything.”

Councilman Gene Powell commented, “It’s been there for 80 years.”

“Longer than that,” added Mayor Clint Diffin.

Gold responded, telling them that his father built it in approximately 1921- 1922. The last big addition was built in 1956.

While he expressed pain from the loss of the structure his father built; as a community leader, he wanted to clean up the debris as quickly as possible.

“So many government agencies; so many ‘big brothers’; you can’t just tear it down like you used to,” Gold said.

Crosby agreed saying, “Yes, it is very cumbersome to tear anything down now.”

Mayor Pro-Tem Colleen Brown said, “Sorry for the loss of your family business.”

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