The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local News

February 17, 2013

Resident: Nicholson File is ‘very unsafe’

ANDERSON, Ind. — Part of Nicholson File still stands after demolition work ceased last fall, and residents are concerned that the old factory is a hazard to the community.

Hopes were high last February when, after years of neglect, owners of the old Nicholson File building and city officials announced the site would be cleaned up.

AMR Demolition of Greensburg proposed recycling up to 95 percent of material salvaged from the structures, at a cost of $200,000, far less than any previous estimate.

City officials and Nicholson File’s owners, the Kotas family of Chicago, supported and approved the plan.

Work got off to a fast start last summer when AMR crews moved in and began dismantling structures brick-by-brick. Columbus Avenue was even closed to traffic one day in July as work progressed.

Since then, however, work as stalled, neighbors complain. Sometime last fall, AMR workers vanished, leaving a significant part of the site along 34th Street open to anyone who might want to explore the area.

Most who have done so are young kids and teens, said Holly Avila, who lives on Columbus Avenue and them scampering over the construction pile all the time.

“When I look out my window I can see everything that’s going on,” she said. “There are young kids that go over there all the time.” She added that she’s concerned about their safety.

“I’m worried about the kids who go in there. They’re up to no good.” Some have tagged standing walls with graffiti. Others are going through buildings she believes are structurally unsound. She worries some might get seriously hurt or killed by falling debris. “It’s very unsafe.”

“Even if they’re up to no good, they don’t deserve to die, “ she said.

“I’ve seen little ones go into some of the buildings. Some of the walls look like if you touch them they’ll fall down. Everybody is concerned, but they don’t want problems with the city of Anderson.”

City spokeswoman Charlee Turner said officials are aware of the situation and have been in contact with an Indianapolis attorney who represents the Kotas family.

Mike Nelson, the Kotas family attorney, told city officials late last week that the family is currently interviewing other companies to complete the work.

Asked what happened since last summer, Nelson said the answer is simple although certainly not desirable for everyone involved: “We hire a demolition contractor to remove all the materials and they did not complete the job.”

He said the Kotas family has been interviewing other candidates and is working to find a replacement as quickly as possible.

Art Richey, the owner of AMR Demolition, could not be reached for comment.

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