2 buildings to be demolished in downtown Saginaw - WNEM TV 5

2 buildings to be demolished in downtown Saginaw

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E. Genesee St., Saginaw (Source: WNEM) E. Genesee St., Saginaw (Source: WNEM)
SAGINAW, MI (WNEM) -

Plans are in motion to tear down a portion of cityscape at the corner of Franklin and Genesee in Saginaw.

City officials responded to bricks falling off the buildings in May.

"We don't want a downtown with no buildings in it," said Steve West, restaurant owner.

He runs a restaurant around the corner from the buildings in question. He knows they are crumbling, but he wants them to stay.

"If you have someone that will bring in small businesses, isn't that what you want downtown," West said.

Half of the city block was scheduled to meet the wrecking ball in June.

"The way I understand it, there is interest in the building and if there is then they should follow through with that first over demolishing it. Because that building won't fall down. They should fix the brick on the front," West said.

The two buildings in question are owned by the Saginaw County Land Bank. The agency made the decision to demolish the structures in March.

"Between the bricks falling and after our investigation finding out the structure is not as safe as we had initially thought out, we're moving towards demolition," said Tim Novak, county treasurer.

Novak said the fallen bricks are a sign the two side-by-side historic buildings should become a memory.

"They really are an eyesore to downtown. And how long are we going to let them stay that way? You know, we wouldn't be demolishing those two buildings today if there wasn't structural issues there," Novak said.

He said the decision to tear down the brick and mortar isn't easy. He said he wants to balance preserving history and lay the groundwork for a more vibrant downtown.

"I think that the future may be more positive if there's green space there that somebody else can come in and develop," Novak said.

Meanwhile, West is adamant the buildings can be part of the new downtown Saginaw. He doesn't understand why the funds that will be used to destroy the buildings can't be used to spruce them up.

"I think it's a waste of our downtown if we lose buildings," he said.

The paperwork will be sign in early August, authorizing the tear down of the buildings.

Novak said the county will release its demolition plans in early August.

"I think as long as they have a good plan put in place, I think it might be a good idea. You know, we could use some development down here in downtown Saginaw," said Corey Pritchett, resident.

Pritchett hopes the destruction of the buildings opens the door for more positive change in the heart of the city.

"More small businesses. Not so much the franchises coming downtown, but more small businesses where our community people are running these businesses," Pritchett said.

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