Aldermen meet, Main Street group absent

Twenty-one days into a 30-day period allotted for forward momentum, Main Street Willow Springs did not appear at the Board of Aldermen's November meeting. Main Street Willow Springs, LLC is the nonprofit organization that owns a dilapidated two-story building at the corner of Main and Center. The status of the building has regularly been on the agenda since July. 
"I felt that we were pretty clear with having them come back every month," said City Administrator Beverly Hicks.
Last month, a report from an independent engineer confirmed the building fits the definition of a "dangerous building" under ordinance 505.020. 
"By definition, it is a dangerous building. It cannot continue as it is," said Gene Douglas of OK-Thomas on Oct. 27. 
The rest of Douglas's report was unreservedly optimistic, however. He said the building can be saved if the group can swing the finances. Last month, the city gave Main Street Willow Springs 30 days to meet with Douglas, form a plan, and schedule a repair to the north side of the building. 
At Thursday's meeting, Hicks reported that she did not have an update from the nonprofit. She had not heard from them.
Independently, Hicks spoke to Douglas who reportedly informed her that he had given a proposal to the group and was waiting on their approval of the contract, expected to take place at their next meeting.
In response to inquiries from Howell County News, Main Street Willow Springs declined to give an update on the status of their building or to confirm that they are on track to meet the city's deadline. 
"We will be in touch with Hicks directly and she will receive a full update," a spokesperson of the nonprofit's board commented. "The board has met several times in the last month and is actively working on everything previously discussed, including working with Mr. Douglas."
The group further commented that "prior commitments" and "unforeseen circumstances" prevented their members from appearing at Thursday's meeting, although they were indeed prepared to give an update. 
Ultimately, the aldermen moved on in their meeting without taking any action. In response to a question from the News, Alderman Phil Knott reiterated that the group's 30-day window had not passed. He asked Hicks to email the aldermen with any updates.
The matter will be back on the agenda for the Dec. 15 meeting. 
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