It appears as though this is a done deal now, and Pioche will lose one of the most important buildings in town. I mean really lose; it’s going to be torn down. We’re talking about that brick and stone building across from the Overland on that corner. The building has great historical value and goes back to the mid-1860s, to the origin of the town.
It’s hard, really hard, to know what or who to believe in all this, but it appears it’s turned into a power play struggle between the current owner and the combined state and county governments. It all came to a head when the owner was asking the DOT for help to shore up the road in front of the building to protect it from further decay. The DOT’s method of dealing with it was to talk the county into condemning the building, claiming it’s going to fall down any minute on county workers or passersby. The DOT sent in its structural engineers to prove the case.
As things progressed, it turned out that all three of the buildings on that corner, which also included the Amsden building, along with the old firehouse, had to come down so they could improve the road. Strangely the firehouse got a pardon, but the other two buildings remain in the unsafe territory. I’m not sure how things work this way, but it seems like it often happens.
The current owner of the brick (Scott) building hired an independent structural engineer and guess what–his opinion differed greatly with the state guys about the building being a safety hazard and ready to fall down. The owner of the wooden middle building has not joined in the controversy.
It seems to boil down to who has the most power gets their way. The state and county are proudly pounding their chests, excited to be able to outpower a citizen. It looks to me like a simple case of eminent domain at this point, but if it is, the law says the owner of the property has to be paid fair market value for the property, land, and building. That’s not happening either. Maybe someone in one of the government agencies knows more than we do, and someone will come out of this with a sweet deal. After all, those things happen too.
For just pure historical value, those buildings should be preserved. All the tourists who visit here take pictures of those buildings. Why should the town of Pioche lose some of its best historical assets over a chest-pounding contest to prove who has the most power?