Demolition begins on historic White Hall

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -- Demolition has started on downtown historic White Hall. Today, crews worked to knock down the west wall of the building and the front entrance of the hall which held the four white columns.

“It’s been a long time coming,” said Trent Prall, Engineering Manager for the City of Grand Junction.

White Hall was destroyed by a devastating fire in September 2011. The building had been used as a church, office spaces and community meeting rooms.

“It had definitely served its usefulness,” said Mesa County Assessor Barbara Brewer.

Many onlookers, each with their own memories of White Hall, gathered to watch the demolition process. The sight was filled with sentimental value for Senta Costello who got married in the building 17 years ago.

“We have our memories and that’s what counts,” Costello said.

City officials spent the last seven months working to get the proper permits from the state. The fire exposed asbestos-containing material, so the City had to obtain an open-air permit and a variance for an open-air asbestos demolition. The presence of asbestos also required extra caution and the use of constant water on the site during the demolition process.

The Downtown Development Authority is responsible for the future of the site. Executive Director Harry Weiss said the authority is looking to use the spot for housing.

“It’s a really good housing site when you look at the nature of downtown,” Weiss said. “It’s one block off of 7th Street and two blocks off of Main Street but it’s a nice quiet corner.”

If the site is used for housing, Weiss said the east wing, which is not being torn down, could be readily adapted for apartments. The DDA will be working with Grand Junction City Council to determine the corner’s future.

The entire demolition is expected to be completed by the end of May 2013.

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