Engineer recommends tearing down White Pigeon building

A structural engineer said one of the oldest buildings in St. Joseph County is beyond repair and, out of safety-related concerns, should be razed.

Members of the White Pigeon Village Council assembled Wednesday during a special meeting to hear a report from Mark Wilson, representing Elkhart-based engineering firm Jones Petrie Rafinski.

His 45-minute presentation centered on the buildings at 100 and 102 E. Chicago Road. They house the Tasty Nut Shop and an adjacent catering/banquet business.

Building owner Marjorie Hamminga, who has owned Tasty Nut Shop since 1986, was not present.

Wilson’s thorough inspection summary noted a comprehensive list of concerns that include a variety of considerable flaws: an unstable foundation, crumbing bricks, water damage, a compromised roof, advanced cracking in exterior and interior walls, weak mortar and gaps between bricks, for example.

While the woeful conditions discovered through Wilson’s findings were hardly a surprise to any of the two-dozen people in attendance, a few who addressed the council said other options should be explored.

In the end, village officials authorized zoning administrator Doug Kuhlman and local building inspector Joe Wickey to meet with the village’s legal counsel to decide how to proceed with the situation.

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