Last updated 6:06PM ET
October 21, 2014
WIUM Local
WIUM Local
Keokuk Businesses Close Over Safety Concerns
(2010-12-21)
Younggren's Shoes (L) and Personalized Designs (C) have closed over structural concerns. Johnson Schmidt Mens Wear has decided to remain open for business.
(wium) - Fire Chief Mark Wessel says the buildings that house Younggren's Shoes and Personalized Designs share a foundation wall.

He says a contractor was preparing to do some work in the basement of the Personalized Designs building, Monday afternoon, when it was determined that that foundation wall was deteriorating.

Wessel says a structural engineer was called in, who determined that the two buildings, which are located in the 400-block of Main Street, were unsafe and should be evacuated.

Wessel says the owners of Younggren's Shoes and Personalized Designs agreed to temporarily close their shops, even with Christmas a few days away. He says employees at Personalized Designs were able to remove some equipment that would allow them to keep working.

Large barricades have been placed on the sidewalk to block access to the buildings.

Wessel says the owner of Johnson Schmidt Mens Wear has decided to keep his business open. The building that houses the clothing store is located next to the building that houses Personalized Designs.

Wessel says Johnson Schmidt has the least risk of suffering damage of the neighboring buildings.

Wessel says talks are underway to determine how the buildings can be stabilized, if it is even possible. He says the owners, who live in the tri-state region, have been involved in the discussions.

Wessel says crews have marked the foundation wall in the hopes of determining the rate of the deterioration.

Keokuk residents are all too familiar with safety concerns about aging downtown buildings. The former Green Tambourine building at 528 Main Street collapsed in July of 2009.

More with Keokuk Fire Chief Mark Wessel is available by clicking the audio link above.

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