Lamar Receives Grant for Gilkey Building Demolition

Published 04/24 2014 06:57PM

Updated 04/24 2014 08:08PM

LAMAR, MO.--- The City of Lamar receives a grant for the demolition of a few historical sites, including the Gilkey Building on 10th Street. The main eye-sore and biggest public threat is the Gilkey Building, which is deteriorating quickly.

"The building is deteriorating and some day is going to fall down, so we'd like to get it down before it falls out down in the street and maybe hurt someone," said Lynn Calton, Lamar City Administrator. 

A $133,000 federal grant will help tear down four structures near the Lamar square.

"It's a Community Development Block Grant, CDBG, that originates at the federal government level and there's a lot of red tape involved," said Calton. 

In fact, the Gilkey Building can not be torn down until a historical investigation takes place. 

"We've been contacted to try and find out the historical value of the Gilkey Building, and we're researching that right now. We've got bits and pieces of information, but we haven't actually complied that so we have to get that together and then we'll go from there," said Pauletta Orahood, Vice President of the Barton County Historical Society. 

The Barton County Historical Society have been through decades of micro-film newspapers searching for any information regarding the Gilkey structure. What they've found so far started back in 1883 when it was a harness shop, then a hotel and eventually a residential site. 

"It use to be apartments. People lived upstairs, had a walk way on the outside. In the 20's it was a car dealership," said Orahood. 

City and historical leaders say it's a loss when a piece a history must be torn down, but they hope someone will rebuild and start a new legacy. 

"One thing, maybe a nice restaurant would be good over there. Someone would have to come up with the money to buy, put up a building and buy all the equipment. Some entrepreneur's going to have to try that," said Calton. 

The property is currently owned by the Community Betterment Group, but since they couldn't afford to do anything with the structure the City of Lamar partnered up with the organization to get the grant. The city hopes to have the entire project completed by fall. 

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