Four months after fire, building's rubble remains downtown eyeso - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Four months after fire, building's rubble remains downtown eyesore

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JACKSONVILLE, TX (KLTV) -

More than four months after a downtown Jacksonville building went up in flames, local businesses say it is now time to clean up the rubble. However, the city says part of the problem is the building's owner did not have insurance. Residents say it is time for somebody to take responsibility for its removal.

"The owners are not going to do anything," said local business owner Emily Griffin. "The city is not going to do anything. The people are unable to do anything without a permit from the state. I'm just stuck in the middle."

Griffin owns Snaps Photography, a store right next door to what was formerly the Yum Yum restaurant.

"My studio... I had several people renting out the other building and they had small businesses," she said. "I'd love to have that again."

It is an issue garnering enough support that the mayor held a special meeting Wednesday.

Griffin wants the city to tear down the remainder of the building so she can allow insurance adjustors into her space. As of now, Griffin has only received a partial insurance reimbursement and is unable to begin demolishing and rebuilding until something is done about the now-abandoned neighboring building.

However, the city said it is not their responsibility to clean up private property.

"Public property was at risk and in danger, so we cleaned public property up," said Jacksonville Public Works Director Will Cole. "We can't spend on non-public projects. If it's private property, it's illegal to spend funds"

But the city admits they have neither fined the owner or sent out any notices for cleanup. They promise that will come soon.

"It's just at this point where's it's stalled out and we need to take action and take control of it," Cole said.

Griffin said all she wants is action.

"I can leave my two buildings sitting here as well," she said. "That leaves three vacant downtown buildings that are eyesores. I can pack up and move on, but I don't want to do that, because that would not benefit this town."

The board of adjustments and appeals will meet in early October to discuss the fate of the building. Among their options are fining the owner or seizing the property.

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