North Judson Demands Safety Improvements to Downtown Building

North Judson Water TowerThe condition of a Downtown North Judson building is leading the town council to consider taking action. The town council has been urging Doug Cassel to fix several items deemed to be safety hazards at his building, including a broken window, unsecured doors, falling debris, and roofing issues.

Cassel told the council Monday that he’s slowly making progress on those items. “I have new doors to put on,” he said. “It’s not the way I liked it, [but] I put up plywood. They are secured. The front door will lock, is locked, will be locked. That was one of the complaints was that it was open all the time. It can be locked, and it’s locked right now. The plywood is on the back of the building. I had two doors that wouldn’t close. I’ve got new doors to put on them. I just ran out of time.”

He added that the back porch, which the town believed was in danger of falling, had been torn down. However, Town Marshal John Ramos disputed that, presenting photographs of the site to Cassel and council members.

Ramos also noticed several other problems. “The very front of the building, he’s got some tuck-pointing work that needs to be done, and then also these bricks on the top appear to be loose, which means that they can fall right onto the street and anybody that’s walking past,” Ramos said. “It’s an extremely dangerous and hazardous position.” Cassel responded that the bricks are secure.

However, even from outside the building, Ramos said it was apparent there were interior issues, as well. “We’ve got beams inside, the i-beams – they’re rusted,” he said. “Also, you’ve got electrical wiring hanging down. I took this picture from the outside, from the sidewalk. As you could see right here, beams are rusted. Electrical wiring is hanging out. And then if you look at this one, not only can you see the roof falling down on the floor from the ceiling, you can also see daylight through the outside of the building, right here. Four years, three years you’ve been working on the building? Really?”

On top of those issues, the town claims Cassel owes $2,000, due to a streetlight in need of repairs. Town Attorney Rachel Arndt says Cassel hasn’t made any sort of payment since 2013.

Ramos, along with North Judson’s building inspector and a representative of the town’s unsafe hearing board planned to conduct a walk-through of the structure this morning. The town council plans to make some additional decisions on the property at its next meeting.