City of Kingman talks about downtown building safety following collapse

A week after a building collapse in downtown Kingman clean up has started.  City is looking at ways to revive downtown.

Courtesy of Darcy Lynne Lair

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Kingman, Kan. ---

A week after the collapse of a building in downtown Kingman, they've started to clean up the mess.

If you talk to most residents in Kingman they'll tell you that many of the downtown businesses are in disrepair. After two separate incidents residents say something needs to be done to avoid another disaster. The city says they realize these concerns and have started looking at ways to revive downtown.

Back in the day, many will say, downtown Kingman was thriving. Connie Mertens said, "it used to be a totally buzzing city. there wasn't anything you didn't or couldn't get in Kingman."
Now, downtown has a few operational businesses. Many of these buildings sit vacant, following apart. Mertens said, "our two and three story buildings are depleting really bad."

Just last Thursday a downtown building collapsed on the corner of Main and Sherman. A week later, the clean up begins. Kingman City Manager Emily Graf said," right now we've had crews come in tearing down, you see the top part of the roof gone, that was an area we were worried would possibly fall on the state highway."

Residents fear more disasters after this recent collapse and a ceiling cave-in at another downtown building not too long ago. The city is taking notice. They're already talking about finding funds to restore downtown buildings. Graf said,"we've been made aware of some grants that are available to help rebuild the structures of buildings. we'll be discussing on what we can do to make our community stronger."

City Commissioner Charlus Bishop tells us that there are no frequent inspections of these downtown buildings. Bishop said, "unless there is a glaringly obvious hazard. There wouldn't be a need for an inspector to inspect the buildings."

However, Bishop says he believes frequent inspections are a reasonable idea. City officials tell me they're focused on bringing Kingman back to its glory day. Graf said, " the city will be focused on what we can do to rebuild downtown and make it strong."

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