Editorials

Crumbling skyscraper in heart of city threatens those below

Falling debris from Spivey Building causes concern

The Rev. Johnny Scott is concerned about someone getting injured by falling debris from the deteriorating Spivey Building in East St. Louis.
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The Rev. Johnny Scott is concerned about someone getting injured by falling debris from the deteriorating Spivey Building in East St. Louis.

Ugly is one thing, you either look away or find a different definition of beauty. Diseased is another, you provide care or find a way to contain the contagion. Dangerous is a whole other thing.

Put together ugly, diseased and dangerous and you have the Spivey Building in East St. Louis.

The city's historic skyscraper has been allowed to sit and rot, blighting the skyline for decades and with bricks falling to pulverize on the pavement below.

One of the city's slumlords along with the former political boss once spread asbestos from the building during a botched renovation attempt, both getting federal time for their crimes. That was about 2004, when the building first started shedding bricks onto the neighboring businesses and the busy Missouri Avenue below.

It is flabbergasting that this issue has not been front and center for the city and other government layers. A 12-story building that threatens others and thwarts any development in the heart of the downtown business district would never be allowed in any other local community.

But we hear this from Mayor Emeka Jackson-Hicks, as if the issue just came to her attention.

"Last year, our attorney contacted the owner of the building and he agreed to do work on the building. When we were made aware of the situation, we immediately jumped on it. We didn't know that, since that work was done, there was more debris falling from it. It is concerning and we want to keep our citizens safe," she said.

Hard to see something is wrong when it is right under your nose? Tells us all we need to know about the city's diligence on the eyesore, as if the crumbling hulk wasn't evidence enough.

The complaints have not changed, but the owners have. The bright spot seems to be the past owner letting the building go for taxes and St. Clair County getting possession. St. Clair County Chairman Mark Kern is promising a swift demolition, maybe work within three or four months.

Stay tuned, but until then avoid the 400 block of Missouri Avenue.

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