LOCAL

Best Building: Is it time?

CAROL TOWNSEND
The Best Building (center) and the former Galva Theatre (far left) could be tore down and hauled away if the Galva City Council pursues such measures as it continues to work with owners of the buildings.

Is it time for the old Best Building to come down? How about the old movie theater just east of it?

The Galva City Council is considering it.

The Best Building, located at the corner of Exchange and Market Streets east of Hathaway's True Value, once had nice apartments upstairs, always full of tenants, and every store front downstairs rented. The movie theater often had lines of customers waiting to get in.

But the council on Dec. 17 discussed at length the properties, both vacant for many years and dilapidated.

The city has had owners Al and Rosie Goins of Toulon in court regarding the matter. City attorney Dan Alcorn said Monday night the Goinses are "very difficult to work with."

Alcorn said he and City Administrator David Dyer had toured the Best Building some time back, and Alcorn called it "the worst, grossest and horrendous place I have ever been."

City officials have called the State of Illinois because the building is along a state route (Routes 17 and 34) but the state won't offer help to remove it unless the building falls on the route.

The city put up wire fencing around the building a few years ago, to protect passersby from falling bricks. Walkers need to walk on the street at some points.

Alcorn said that if the city wants to take the building down, he's sure he can get possession of it.

Dyer said he's going to budget $50,000 a year to start a fund and take the building down someday.

"It is not going to go away; it is going to have to come down and it is not going to get any cheaper," second ward alderman Dougie Anderson said.

The council would like Dyer to get a cost estimate for demolition of the Best and theater buildings.