Local News

Gambles Building Unlikely To Be Saved

By Gordon Hopkins
After several months hoping otherwise, the Wymore City Council now realizes it is unlikely the old Gambles Store front can be saved.
The Gambles Store is an important part of Wymore history. It was first started by Glen Irwin in November of 1939. In the spring of 1940, the store front was relocated to the location where the building still stands.
At a meeting of the City Council in May 18, 2022, Councilmember Max Allen said, “I would still like to see that Gamble’s building, really rather than tore down, repaired.”
Wymore Fire Chief Mark Meints, however, was blunt in his assessment, “I think the building needs to be torn down. Okay? Because it’s unsafe. I don’t want to have to go in and rescue some of the kids out of that building.”
At that time, the council agreed to give the property owners, Larry and Marlene Nichols, the opportunity to bring the building up to code.
The council met on January 4, 2023, and what to do about the building was again on the agenda. Wymore City Attorney Andrew Carothers said, “There’s been no movement on the Gamble’s building. Colin (Meints, Mayor of Wymore) and I have had a conversation about how to proceed with that.”
The big concern now is how to pay for demolition.
City Councilperson Max Allen said, “Here’s my problem, right? You sell these buildings for a dollar, sometimes. People buy them, and then they don’t take care of them. Something happens and then it’s back on the city, then we’ve been mopping up the mess. This is crazy. I mean, if I bought that building and this happened, I wouldn’t be able to walk away from it. I wouldn’t be allowed to walk away from it.”
Carothers explained the process, “We can go and get a court order, requiring them (property owners) to tear it down. That’s not the difficult part of this process. That’s filed in the district court, wait for 30 days until they don’t answer, get a default judgment, have our building inspector come in and testify as to the condition of the building and get him to say that building can’t be rehabilitated and should be torn down.”
“We get a court order. And normally, the court order is going to give them 90 days to tear down the building. That court order will also provide that if they don’t, the city has the ability to go in and demolish the building,” said Carothers. “Once the building’s down, we certify our costs with the district court as far as what we have in our costs to demolish. That becomes a judgment against the property.”
That does not mean the city will necessarily ever recoup the costs. Carothers said, “I don’t have any problem with pursuing them legally. But I can tell you initially, we’re going to bear that expense.”
There is also the question of the contents of the building. The building will need to be cleaned out before it can be demolished.
“Now, if we can reach some agreement that they allow us to clean up contents in the property,” said Carothers. “It has to be cleaned. So if we can get an agreement that we get to auction off any property that we can sell through that and defray the cost of it, you know, that’s fine.”
No action was taken but the council but they indicated someone would reach out to the property owners once again. Allen said, “Before the building falls on somebody or takes out other actual active businesses, something needs to be done.”

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