The Econolodge at the south end of Pittsburg that sustained heavy damage from 120 mph straight-line winds in a storm Feb. 28, 2012 soon will be torn down.
Since the storm, the motel’s eight buildings have sat draped with blue tarps as the owners, the City of Pittsburg, insurance companies and others with interest in the project have wrangled about procedure.
However, the hurdles have been jumped and the work is under way.
“Where we are now is they are in the middle of the demolition,” said City Manager Daron Hall.
Local business owner Randy Vilela has been asked to take the buildings down, and Hall said the first step was removing asbestos from the majority of the buildings.
“They got a hold of me because we knew them,” Vilela said of the owners.
He said the case was settled with the insurance company about a month ago and the restaurant building already has been taken down.
“Right now we have asbestos contractors in there,” he said.
But, as soon as the asbestos is taken care of the buildings will be coming down.
“Once the asbestos is removed, Randy will go in and demolish the buildings,” Hall said.
“We’ll have Pittsburg all beautiful again,” said Vilela, adding that he takes a lot of pride in the city and is excited to be a part of this particular project.
“It’s a great, great city and I love it,” he said.
The process of removing the seven buildings that have marked the south end of Pittsburg for several decades is slated to take 60 days, but Hall said weather has caused some initial delays.
However, he said all involved are eager to see the work take place.
Page 2 of 2 - The hotel’s owners operate out of Wichita and could not be reached for comment because they are traveling, but Hall said they have been a part of the process.
“We do have a relationship with them,” he said.
Vilela said the team working on the project has been very knowledgeable and helpful.
“Mr. Daron and Mr. (Bill) Beasley knew what we were going through,” Vilela said. “We’re working like a football team. Everybody is well-organized and we’re going.”
Hall said the city is eager to go forward with the next steps.
“The city and economic development are working to replace the rooms lost,” he said.
He said it remains unknown whether that will be done by the current owners, one of many other parties who have indicated interest in the property or another entity, but it will be done.
“We’re anxious to get something put back up,” Hall said.
But, in the meantime, he is grateful for the progress.
“It’ll be nice to have it down,” he said.