Wednesday, July 3, 2013
By David Skolnick
The contractor demolishing the former Paramount Theatre jumped the gun, staring work a day early and shutting down a portion of a busy downtown street to vehicular traffic.
Baumann Enterprises of Cleveland was supposed to close Hazel Street between West Federal and West Commerce streets for up to 90 days and the westbound portion of West Federal between Phelps and Hazel streets at night starting today.
Instead, those streets were blocked to vehicular and pedestrian traffic Tuesday, causing plenty of U-turns and some confusion among motorists and those unable to walk on those sections of West Federal and Hazel streets.
“They shouldn’t be doing this” Tuesday, said Charles Shasho, deputy director of the city’s public works department.
“They’re supposed to start” today, “but I’m not going to stop them. It’s a high-priority project.”
The West Federal Street closing is supposed to be done between 6 p.m. and 7 a.m. as specified in the contract because of the inconvenience it would place on the number of workers in that area.
On Tuesday, workers used a crane to place used tires covered by plywood on the roof of a vacant building, which is east of Paramount and attached to the former theater. The tires and plywood are supposed to protect the other building’s roof if pieces of the Paramount land on it during demolition.
The actual demolition of the theater building is supposed to start Monday and take about 30 days to complete.
The entire project — haul away the debris, backfill and grade the property, and turn it into an asphalt parking lot — is supposed to be finished by Sept. 21, Shasho said.
The building opened in 1918 and closed in 1976.
Neglect led to the building’s deterioration with holes in the roof causing major weather damage to its interior.