Rockdale Collapse Continues To Go Unresolved

By: Selina Affram Email
By: Selina Affram Email

As traffic flows through downtown Rockdale, some businesses are stuck at a stand still.

"It's kind of depressing and sad in a way but everything can be fixed, anything and everything can be fixed and restored to be actually better than it actually was to start with," said Richie Thrasher.

Richie Thrasher's dad was the original owner of this building. He says it's over a hundred years old. Thrasher would like to be the sole owner of the building, but right now his mom is listed as one of the multiple owners and through his inheritance he would be the next owner.

From the outside you can't tell that the roof of the bright pink Cameo Insurance building collapsed last fall, which damaged other buildings causing businesses to close.

At the Main and Cameron, right now both Cameo Insurance and Olde Tyme Friends Antiques are closed. Three other businesses, Cliff's Cavern, Ram Optical and O'Barr-Rost Realtors have relocated. Also a red two-story building with an apartment upstairs is currently vacant.

The vacant building along with Olde Tyme Friends Antiques shares a wall with the damaged building which causes problems for those owners, meaning that they will have to get their walls evaluated to determine whether they will need to relocate or if the structure is safe enough for people to be in the location.

It's been months since the collapse without any repairs or professional evaluations to the Cameo building and underneath the surface the main problem is discovering who is now the owner.

"There are actually two or three property owners that don't want to have anything to do with the building.so it's actually one of those deals that's gonna end up in court," said Thrasher.

City manager, Kelvin Knauf says no final decisions can be made until the issue comes before a board of citizens.

"They can order the repair, the remodeling or the demolition of the building, but that is what the law prescribes we have no choice ."

Gene Stork owns a hair salon right across the street and worries about his own business.

"When we have trains coming through or big trucks you can feel the ground shake a little bit and that's inside your building. So when you see something like that happen you think oh is that gonna happen here," said Stork.

Until the owner comes forward and the citizens' board is established, downtown Rockdale will have to wait on getting a face lift.

The city is waiting for an evaluation of the building to determine how to move forward.That would require the wall being evaluated by an engineer.


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