Howell County News/ Amanda Mendez

Concerns about Main Street

City Hears Update on Decrepit Building at Main and Center
The building at the corner of Main and Center Streets in Willow Springs has been the cause of considerable public concern for years. On Thursday, the Board of Aldermen heard an update and brief history of the building. City Administrator Beverly Hicks invited Main Street Willow Springs, the non-profit that owns the building, to address the newly elected aldermen about the longstanding problem. 
Jeff Conger appeared on behalf of the group. In his brief history, he explained Main Street Willow Springs purchased the building from a private individual in October 2020. 
Conger told Council the non-profit obtained a repair bid in the amount of $350,000. In March of 2021, Conger told the News the bid was for work to secure the building. At the time, the group was under the impression that grant funding would be readily available for their project, but that funding never materialized, despite applying for multiple grants and meeting multiple times with the Southern Central Ozark Council of Governments (SCOCOG). 
On Thursday, Conger described a more recently obtained bid for $80,000 to take pressure off the roof to prevent a complete roof collapse if the street-side wall falls, with the caveat that he has not been able to make contact with the contractor recently.
The group has received private donations in the amounts of $75,000 and $1,000 and currently has a building fund between $80,000 and $85,000, Conger said.
"If that building was to come down, that's one-eighth of our Main Street," Conger said Thursday. "It would be a big hole."
"The main concern is the building coming down and someone getting hurt," Alderman David Collins countered.
Collins asked Conger if the group has liability insurance, and Conger confirmed they do. 
The Board of Aldermen ultimately took no action last week, and Conger reported Main Street Willow Springs does not have a timeline for repairs, per se, but plans to have an update by the June council meeting.
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