Wall dispute ended

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Grubaugh gets TIF grant, sells three lots to the city

By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

A dispute over the rehabilitation of an exterior wall on a downtown building was resolved on Monday night with an agreement between the city and Dennis Grubaugh.

After meeting in closed session with its legal counsel for about 30 minutes, alderman voted unanimously to approve an agreement that gives Grubaugh $100,000 in Tax Increment Financing funds to remediate that wall.
The council also voted unanimously to buy from Grubaugh three lots in the 100 block of South Fifth Street, north of the property that the city acquired as a result of the demolition of buildings at Fifth and Gallatin streets in August 2015.
As part of the agreement on the purchase of those lots for $25,000, the city is granting Grubaugh an easement to repair the exterior wall of his building at 507 W. Gallatin St.
That wall became exposed after the city demolished the buildings at the southwest corner of Fifth and Gallatin streets, after a roof collapse made the buildings unsafe and dangerous.
In April of last year, the council turned down Grubaugh’s request for $220,000 in TIF monies for remediation of the wall, with him claiming the city was liable for the condition of the wall.
Two weeks later, some aldermen supported an alternative plan, one that called for the city to give Grubaugh $100,000 to have the wall repaired and covered with an EFIS stucco finish.
Grubaugh rejected that recommendation, saying that he wanted the wall to retain its brick surface.
In June, Justin Durbin told aldermen that he had been unable to remediate the southern wall of his building at 101 S. Fifth St., using TIF funds, because Grubaugh was denying access to that wall.
The property adjacent to Durbin’s building is one of three lots the city is buying from Grubaugh.
The draft of the agreement states that the wall project must comply with the city’s TIF guidelines.
The remediation of the wall is to include a brick sealant to prevent any further damage from the elements.
It also states that the project “will be complete by June 1 or placed in a condition that the parties find mutually agreeable, safe and appealing in advance of the commencement of Bicentennial celebration events in June.”
Further, it states, “In the event that 507-509 W. Gallatin Street is destroyed or is damaged beyond reasonable repair during the project, the city shall not be obligated to pay or perform under this agreement.”
Mayor Rick Gottman said the TIF grant “is not payable till the work is done to our satisfaction, and Dennis has agreed to that.”
After the agreements for TIF funds and purchase of three lots, Gottman thanked Grubaugh for working with the city.
“I know this has been a long journey, but I think it will have a very positive impact on the community as we’re getting ready to celebrate our 200th year in Vandalia,” Gottman said.
The agreement is expected to be completed later this week, after both Grubaugh and his wife, Debbie, sign off on it.