City acquires Sands Dorsey building for demolition

By Thomas Garcia

QCS Senior Writer

The Tucumcari City Commission on Thursday approved the acquisition of the Sands Dorsey building and awarded the contract for its demolition.

With the acquisition of the Sands Dorsey building, the city has taken more steps toward removal of the debris from the site since it first burned in 2007, said City Manager Jared Langenegger.

Langenegger said the city will sign a release of liability with the owner of the Sands Dorsey building, Robert Hengstenberg, and will take possession of the building at no cost. He said City Attorney Randy Knudson has reviewed the documents for this acquisition and Hengstenberg’s attorney also is satisfied with the arrangement.

Constructed in 1917, the Sands Dorsey building had long been a downtown Tucumcari landmark. It became an eyesore and posed a danger after a fire gutted the building in 2007 and a second fire damaged it further in 2012.

Langenegger said the damage done by the fires created safety and cost issues related to the removal of the building. He said at the time the city wanted to remove the building for the safety of the public but the cost of the removal slowed those efforts.

Langenegger said the city did not want to take possession of the building without having an immediate demolition plan in place. He said doing so would have made the city liable for the building and any damages or injuries that could come from the site.

Langenegger said issuing the release of liability to Hengstenberg was the best course of action for the city. He said the city could have tried to collect on liens placed on the property, but said the likelihood of a timely collection of the money owed was low.

“This puts the demolition and removal of this building on the fast track,” Langenegger said.

With the acquisition approved by commissioners, the next step was to approve a bid for demolition of the Sands Dorsey building.

The demolition bid was awarded to Coronado Wrecking and Salvage Company Inc., of Albuquerque, which had entered the lowest bid of $191,246.11.

Langenegger said this amount is less than half of the $400,000 the city had budgeted for demolition and removal of the building.

“I am sad that the Sands Dorsey building burnt,” said District One Commissioner Rick Haymaker, who said while he is sad the landmark burned, he is not saddened by the progress of its demolition and removal. He said he appreciates all the work the city manager and staff have done to get this issue resolved.

In other business, commissioners:

* Approved the first reading of Ordinance 1123 amending sections of chapter 13.08 of the Tucumcari Municipal Code pertaining to Public Service for Sewer Use.
* Approved the appointment of Patsy Gresham to the Planning and Zoning Commission.
* Approved the amendment of E-911 grant agreement for fiscal year 2015, totaling $280,100, which pays for the 911 services used by central dispatch.
* Approved the grant agreement of $94,580 for the Foster Grandparents and Senior-Companion programs.

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