Beginning of end near

    Not long after Callithumpian activities are completed in Decatur this year, a long-awaited project will begin: Demolishing the long-ignored building on the southwest corner of Second and Monroe streets downtown.
    Fleming Excavating was recently awarded the contract for the project with its low bid of some $145,000.
    "It's getting close," Mayor John Schultz said at last week's city council meeting, referring to the start of the project.
    Once occupied by Holthouse Drug Co. as part of a bustling downtown, the building had fallen on hard times in recent years. Dwayne's Sweeper Shop was the last business located there, and the structure had deteriorated considerably under the ownership of Dwayne Skaggs of Bluffton, becoming a downtown eyesore.
    The city purchased the building from Skaggs for $25,000 several months back, then paid Air Management Techniques of Muncie $2,100 for asbestos removal.
    Street/Sanitation Superintendent Jeremy Gilbert said at the council meeting that as it stands now, work would begin around November 5 and from that time until approximately December 15, traffic in the area will be restricted.
    That restriction will mean closing the lane on Monroe St. that turns south onto Second St., the lane closest to the building The straight-ahead lane on Monroe St. which goes east would become a left-turn lane, as it was for years until a change made several years ago.
    The contract allows Fleming 90 days to complete the project, but Gilbert said only 65 to 70 days is more likely to be needed. He added that the building will be pushed into its basement as quickly as possible, which would end the traffic restrictions.
    Mayor Schultz has said on more than a few occasions in the past that there are no concrete plans for the open area that will be left; the main goal at this point, he always said, is to rid the city of an eyesore.