A portion of North West Street will be closed for the foreseeable future after the roof collapsed on a building in downtown Jacksonville.
City officials and engineers are working on a plan with the owners of the Lair Building located at the corner of West State and North West Streets after the roof collapsed sometime overnight on an extension in the rear portion of the building.
The section of building affected is at 104 and 102 ½ North West Street and faces the Morgan County Courthouse. Community Development Director for the City of Jacksonville, Bryan Nyberg says initial inspection of the structure indicates that water from Monday’s storms is the likely cause of the collapse.
Nyberg says the building is now an unsafe structure and there is concern that a portion of the back corner on the second story could collapse causing further damage.
The building is bordered on three sides by the main Lair Building to the south and the former Superintendent of Schools building to the north that is now occupied by the Morgan County Public Defender’s Office, which just relocated there within the last month.
The Public Defender’s office as well as a rear portion of the Rammelkamp Bradney Law Firm building that borders the Lair Building to the east have been evacuated out of precaution for fear of further collapse.
The building was unoccupied and no injuries are reported. Nyberg says the city is working with the owner of the building to come up with a plan of action, however, a portion of the building will need to be torn down due to safety concerns. Crews from Ameren Illinois have disconnected utility service to the structure.
The building formerly was home to the late Bill G. Colburn’s law office and the Visiting Nurse’s Association in the 1960s.
Morgan County ESDA Director Phil McCarty says an official press release updating the situation will be forthcoming later today.