- The City of Merrill plans on tearing down eyesores in the community.
But at the same time, the city plans to build a new building just a few blocks away.
"Badly peeling paint, bad roofs, broken windows, just a building that would look uninhabitable." Says Merrill City Administrator David Johnson.
Merrill, along with six other counties and cities, are receiving grants from the state to tear down the old and decrepit buildings in town. On the docket, is this building on Grand Ave.
Spreading like a virus, the "doctor" recommends demolition to save other buildings in the neighborhood. Johnson says plans are in place to tear it down, before the community goes down. "Once one goes down[in aesthetic terms], and property values begin to fall, people don't see any reason to invest in their own properties either. So you have this deterioration spreading through the entire neighborhood."
While some buildings in Merril are being demolished. Other buildings are being built. Like a new fire house which will be going up across the street from the post office. This building will also go hand in hand with a restructuring of the department.
"By only having one station and building a new central station, we'll still only have one station, and there is no longer a need for that level of supervision." Says Johnson, "So what we've done is collapse the organization somewhat."
The fire department will keep all of its employees, according to Johnson. But the two previous firehouses in town will come together underneath one roof with one new chief, David Savone. "Twenty-eight years of fire-fighting experience, he is a paramedic, and his ability to teach. The fact that he is teaching at a university presently speaks volumes about his abilities."
The building on Grand Ave. is expected to come down next week. While the city decides who will get the contract to build the new firehouse.