With the simple push of a tractor, a piece of Wright City history went up in dust last week.
Now that the remains of the former Big Boy’s restaurant building have been removed, city officials are excited about the appearance of the property that was considered an eyesore and generated dozens of complaints over the years.
City crews quickly wrapped up the demolition project last week, after receiving approval from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to resume. The project had sat idle since DNR conducted an inspection on Jan. 24 of the city-owned property, located at 13200 Veterans Memorial Parkway, and found asbestos in the building.
DNR issued a notice of violation two days later. It cost the city $12,500 to have the asbestos removed.
“I think you guys did an outstanding job after we got the problems worked out and getting it down on short notice,” Mayor David Heiliger said to Public Works Director Larry Janish during last Thursday’s board of aldermen meeting. “It’s a shame it’s gone, but you guys did an excellent job.”
Once a popular stop for local residents and highway travelers, Big Boy’s was closed by the Missouri Department of Revenue in April 2005 because the owners failed to pay state sales taxes. Since then, the building sat vacant and fell into disrepair.
Last year, the city paid $170,000 for the 2.5-acre parcel. City officials envision constructing a new city hall and police department facility on the property, though a time frame has yet to be determined on how soon that could occur. Another possibility is selling the property, officials said.
Positive remarks also were made by a couple of residents who attended last Thursday’s meeting.
“That is the fastest I’ve seen anybody do that once we got the OK to do it,” Alderman Jim Toothman said.
The former restaurant building had been partially razed when a DNR official inspected the property Jan. 24. According to DNR officials, it was discovered that the city failed to have an asbestos survey performed and did not inform the state agency at least 10 days prior to the start of the demolition project.
Upon reviewing the violation notice from DNR, the city was required to immediately stop all demolition work, have an asbestos survey conducted of the building and two dumpsters that contain demolition waste, and develop a new demolition plan incorporating any special conditions identified from the asbestos survey.