Graffiti scars the northern wall of the Roos property, 7329 W. Harrison. The parcel was purchased by the Park District of Forest Park, who voted on Thursday to demolish it.JEAN LOTUS/Staff

The Roos Building is coming down. Park District of Forest Park board members agreed unanimously at Thursday’s board meeting to begin proceedings to demolish the recently acquired Roos Building.

Director Larry Piekarz asked the board to act right away, since he said the process will take at least three months, and because the building at 7329 Harrison St. is a dangerous liability.

“The walls are ready to fall,” Piekarz said.

Piekarz presented the board with a property appraisal from November, saying the “best use” of the property was a complete demolition.

“It’s gotten even worse since then,” Piekarz said.

He also presented an engineering report to the board saying the structure was unsound.

Even with a unanimous vote, the project will still take at least 90 days. Piekarz said he would release a request for proposals (RFP) for a construction manager and a demolition company. The board still must contact the railroad, which owns the line running next to the north property line and get required permits from the village of Forest Park and the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency.

The 2.5-acre site will generate “truckloads and truckloads” of debris, the board pointed out, and the demolition needs to be done in an environmentally sensitive way.

The bricks and vintage yellow pine support timbers have some salvage value, but Piekarz said he was nixing the idea of selling or giving away the bricks. Demolition companies usually give a credit against their price for salvaged materials.

“I’ve gotten 10 phone calls already saying, ‘I’ll help you out by taking those bricks,'” he said. “That’s not going to happen.”

In order to give construction materials to the public, they would need to be declared surplus and have the board vote to sell them, board member Eric Entler pointed out. The board agreed that the non-profit foundation Friends of the Park could sell or auction the bricks as fundraising.

“We can hold some back for that,” Piekarz said.

Until the building is demolished, the park district is liable for anything happens to anyone who breaks into the building, including thrill-seeking graffiti taggers, Entler said.

“Whoever tagged that building was hanging over the wall,” Entler said. “How long before the wall’s going to collapse, the kid’s going to fall and we’ll have a death on our hands?”

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Jean Lotus

Jean Lotus loves community journalism. She covers news, features, two school boards, village council, crime, park district and writes obits for Forest Park Review. She also covers the police beat for...

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