Collinsville Main Street: Why are those two buildings still standing?

News-DemocratOctober 5, 2013 

— It's been nearly two years since the city purchased two older buildings downtown for the Main Street Park, and the buildings are still standing.

In January 2012, the City Council approved a plan to purchase the Main Street Apartments and nearby Martha Manning building in the 700 block of Main Street for $1.1 million.

The plan was to relocate the residents and businesses to other locations, demolish the old buildings and relocate the historic D.D. Collins House to the end of the block as "Collins Park," the new entrance to the uptown Main Street business district.

The apartment residents were relocated quickly. But one business that was operating in the old Martha Manning warehouse has had trouble moving.

Uptown coordinator Leah Joyce said they have been trying to find a new space for Stone Wheel, a small auto parts distributor. The best location was held up on a zoning issue.

Now, Joyce said, they have found a location on Collinsville Road and it is being renovated to move them out.

Meantime, Joyce said they held off demolishing the Main Street Apartments until the warehouse also would be ready for demolition. "Financially, it makes better sense to tear it down all at once," she said.

Economic development director Erika Kennett said there would be some asbestos abatement for the apartments and the warehouse before they can be demolished. Once Stone Wheel is in its new location, it will take about 30-45 days to bring down the buildings.

Meanwhile, the Collins House has finished most of the renovations it can do before its big move. Items such as plaster work will have to wait until it is in its new resting place -- its third, as its current spot on Main Street was not its original location.

The 1845 house was home to Judge Daniel Dove Collins, first president of Collinsville. The earliest village board meetings were held in his Greek Revival home, then located at Main Street and Seminary. In the 1890s, it was moved to its current location.

About $450,000 has been spent to rehabilitate the home since the 1990s, most of it raised by the Historic Preservation Commission.

Once moved, the house will be furnished as it might have been in the mid-1800s and will be opened to the public as a historic attraction. Kennett said the Friends of the Collins House will be working with master gardeners from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville to create an era-appropriate vegetable and herb garden around the Collins House.

Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at edonald@bnd.com or 239-2507.

Contact reporter Elizabeth Donald at edonald@bnd.com or 239-2507.

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