The second time could be the charm for the Daniel Boone Hotel building.
The Whitesburg City Council approved a bid last night (Tuesday), to begin demolition and stabilization of the 100-year-old building, the largest historic structure in downtown Whitesburg.
It was the second time the city advertised for bids for stabilization of the building, the roof of which partly collapsed last year taking all three floors with it. Structural System Repair Group of Cincinnati was the sole bidder on the project both times.
After the first bid came in too high, architect Bill Richardson, of Whitesburg, changed the structure from steel to wood.
The new bid is $825,900, higher than the $815,000 budgeted, but still less than is available through a contingency fund in the grant, Richardson said.
The work will include cleaning out debris from the collapse, demolishing anything remaining that needs to be removed, and building a structural framework, bearing walls, three floors and a roof. When the work is completed, the building will be ready for another contractor to finish the interior when the money becomes available.
Mayor James W. Craft said he “very greatly relieved” that the bid was low enough this time.
“It’s been a long, hard process, but it looks like it’s finally coming together and we’re at least going to get that place straightened out, dried out, and move forward from there,” Craft said.
He said the city will still have to get approval from the funding agency, but once it’s approved, he’ll call a special meeting of the council to approve the contract and let the contractor begin work.
Craft had been chaffing with the delays, but said considering the weather it might have been the best thing.
“I guess it’s kind of been a blessing in disguise because we couldn’t have roofed it, and now it looks like we’re going to be into the dry months so we can,” he said. “There’s not really been a week passed that it hasn’t rained a day or more during that week.”
Richardson said that once the exterior walls are cleaned out, construction will proceed from the ground up with each floor being laid and the roof going on last. The original plan was to build a steel superstructure, then roof the building before laying the floors.
Once this phase of the construction is complete, the city will seek money to finish the interior of the hotel. Craft said the Kentucky River Area Development District is looking for money for that phase now.
“It’s really looking good. We’ve got some feelers out there for $2.5 million, which will get us way down the road on Phase 2,” Craft said. “We have to spend what we’ve got before they will allow us to seek any further grants. I think that time is up in October.”
Construction of the original building began in 1919, and the hotel opened for business the weekend of July 4, 1920. It has been empty for about 20 years.