The building in question is the old home of former Marshallite and former Saline County judge Lawrence McClure, who has not resided in the home, nor has anyone else, in at least five years, say various sources. McClure no longer lives in Saline County.
The building was determined to be a hazard, said Don Stouffer, legal counsel to the city council, because it was not closed against intrusion, it was not watertight and the maintenance of the grounds was not in line with city requirements.
Stouffer said the city gave McClure ample time to bring the home up to code or sell it, and McClure did neither.
Between 16 and 20 separate public hearings were held during this time, Stouffer estimated.
"We have never spent this much time on a single piece of property," Stouffer said, adding that one reason so much time was spent on this property was due to its status as one of the oldest homes in Marshall.
When Marshall officials put out requests for preliminary bids, they requested bids for two jobs: repairing the building and demolishing it.
City Inspector Mike Morgan said the price quoted for repair of the house's roof and removal of the deck off of the building's rear was $59,000, well over the bid for demolition and removal of the house. That caused the job to be awarded to Thompson Construction at the Marshall City Council meeting Monday evening, July 6. This company's bid of $9,941.30 was almost half of the next-lowest bid for demolition and removal.
"This has not been a closed or a recent or a quick decision," said Stouffer.
The home's basement, which McClure had built in 1988, will be filled with concrete, said Morgan.
"When they're done with this, (the lot) will be in a mowable condition," he said.
The value of this basement was estimated by Marshall Municipal Utilities Board of Public Works President Chuck Hird to be at least $30,000.
Speaking as a private individual, Stouffer said, "That home is one of the oldest in town. But should the city pay taxpayer funds to repair that property?"
"I think it's sad that we are so quick to tear down our past," said one anonymous neighborhood resident.
"I like old homes, and I think, I don't want it torn down, necessarily, but I also don't like to see it (deteriorate so badly)," said another neighborhood resident who wished to remain unnamed.
The home is the only one in Saline County that was built in the "Tuscan Villa" Italianate style, according to "Marshall, Missouri 1839 - 1989: 150 Years of Progress."
Thomas C. Rainey had Edgar R. Page build the home for him in 1882. Page also had a hand in the construction of the Saline County Courthouse. Rainey was the author of "Along the Old Trail" and a prominent businessman in Arrow Rock, Marshall and Kansas City.