Demolition preps under way for Dyer building

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GIBSON COUNTY, Tenn. — The city of Dyer is getting a new look as one of the city’s historic buildings is prepared for demolition Wednesday. The former Ben Franklin building was built in the 1900s, according to Mayor Chris Younger. He said the building will be taken to a landfill piece by piece after the demo. Residents said they’re hopeful the demo can bring in new business. Evelyn Rawdon said she remembers when Dyer had a booming downtown. “We’d come up from Brown Shoe and see what was new or go to the dime store and buy candy to eat on after lunch,” she said. On Wednesday, Rawdon watched as antiques were emptied out of the building. “It’s going to hurt. I mean, it’s sad that that had to happen,” she said. After the building’s roof collapsed earlier this week, city officials decided the safest solution for the privately owned building was to tear it down. “It’s sad to see these old buildings go down, but at the same time it’s at the point some of them need to be taken down before somebody gets hurt,” the mayor said. WBBJ 7 Eyewitness News asked residents if the demolition means death for downtowns. Rawdon said she’s hopeful new businesses will want to come into the area. “Maybe those buildings torn down and build new buildings for people to rent to get our town built back up,” she said. Younger said there’s a chance the building next door will also come down. “If the building comes down beside it, it comes down. If it stands, then there may have to be other issues taken, so we’ll see how it looks when it gets done.” There are no plans to reuse any of the old bricks at the building. “Because there may be asbestos in the bricks or something like that, and it needs to go to a certified landfill,” Younger said. Officials said there are no immediate plans for the soon-to-be vacant lot.

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