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Archive for Monday, September 11, 1995

FRATERNITY AGAIN FACES DEMOLITION

September 11, 1995

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If nothing changes by Tuesday, Lawrence city commissioners could pull the rug -- and everything else -- out from the former home of the first black fraternity house west of the Mississippi River.

The former Alpha Phi Alpha house, at 1014 Miss., was granted a reprieve from the wrecking ball last month by commissioners after they heard plans to renovate the structure.

But as of Sunday, neither city officials nor local residents who've expressed interest in saving the structure had heard of any plans that could be presented to the commission when it meets Tuesday.

"The people in Kansas City might know something, but I don't have any information on that at all," said James Kitchen, Kansas University's dean of student life.

City building inspector Gene Shaughnessy has said that the structure is a health and safety hazard.

Commissioners last month agreed to several conditions to delay the demolition, including paying off back taxes, cleaning up the site and putting $15,000 in an escrow account in case demolition is necessary.

"There is no update," City Manager Mike Wildgen said Friday. "We don't have any of the materials."

And Mayor Bob Moody said: "If we haven't seen any progress ... we have to move ahead.

"The city commission and the city have been more than accommodating over that time. Now it's time for action."

Assistant City Manager Rod Bremby said Sunday he also hadn't heard of any efforts that have been made.

Bremby said that if no new information is presented during the city's meeting Tuesday, commissioners could vote to demolish the house.

Last month's vote to give proponents of the house 30 days to take some action represented the third resolution in five years to recommend demolition of the house.

Doors and windows of the house were sealed with sheets of plywood in 1994. The house has been vacant since 1987.

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