After the Marshalltown grocery store on Main Street burned to the ground this past February, demolition left a pile of debris for the owners to tackle. However, owners, F&H, have yet to tackle it, and the city issued 60 day permit to clean up the rubble has expired with no attempts to start. For businesses in the area, the debris is more than an eyesore; it's hurting their bottom line.
"The city had the street blocked off, took away eight to ten parking spots from the building, that's going to hurt business,” says Craig Robinson.
Robinson owns Doo Dah's Diner right across the street and says on any given day his cafe is usually full, but ever since the fire, business has slowed.
"It also hurts business when there are rumors flying around that there is asbestos, who wants to come downtown, basically nobody,” says Robinson.
Next door at Iowa Wholesale Supply, they have the same complaints.
"It's an eyesore, and I get to look at everyday looking out my office window, the sooner they get it cleaned up the better,” says Lou Miller.
Miller says getting in big trucks down the street to deliver his products has been a challenge, and with little parking spots, customers aren't stopping by as often.
"It needs to be cleaned up and there is really no excuse that it's gone this long,” says Miller.
The City Attorney filled a lawsuit, to force the owners to start clean up or fork over the cash needed to get rid of the debris, which is estimated to cost $500,000. Robinson says 60 days is plenty of time to start clean up and if the city doesn't get the problem taken care of he might take his own action on the issue.
"We’re hoping that within two weeks the clean-up starts because there is a very good possibility that there are going to be some more lawsuits that are going to follow this one,” says Robinson.
The City attorney who filed the lawsuit against the owners says they have twenty days to file paper work for the clean-up or the court will automatically grant the city the amount of money needed from the owners to start the clean-up themselves.