The Riverbank Museum has a building next door that some have called an “eye sore” that has been empty for quite some time. The future of the building was placed in the hands of the Riverbank City Council at its Monday, Sept. 23 meeting and with a 4-0 vote the council has directed City Manager Jill Anderson to begin plans for having it demolished.
“My opinion, I think it needs to be removed,” said Mayor Richard O’Brien. “It has no historical significance, we have already determined that. It has such serious deficiencies and (lack of) structural integrity that it would be unfeasible to restore and it is a blight to this city. So I think we should consider option three; appropriate the funds and remove that.”
The Riverbank Historical Society was asked to gather information and do research to find out if the building had any historical value. Historical Society President Paulette Roberson reported her findings to the city council at a previous meeting and explained that the building was built in 1946 and is 1,944 square feet. The city purchased the building in 2010 for $65,000.
Roberson also did a walk through with an architect to determine the historical significance and the structural integrity. They found that there was no historical value and costs to renovate the building to just a “shell” would be an estimated cost of $80 to $85 per square foot.
City Finance Director Marisela Hernandez provided a presentation to the council to request direction. In the presentation, she explained that in 2006 there was work performed on the building without an approved building permit. There was also the removal of an internal wall that separated the two suites, which acted as a support for the ceiling joists that appeared to be undersized for the span of the building. So Stanislaus County filed a “stop work” notice.
The opinion of the appraiser was listed in the report and read, “the highest, best use of the property would be to raze the existing building, allowing for new retail or commercial development.”
The current building status is a collection of water damage, dry-rot or mold, asbestos, the roof is stressed and bowing, and the entrance does not meet ADA accessibility requirements.
After the council discussed the issue and opened it up for the public to comment, they decided to have the building demolished and prepare the land for use by the Historical Society for outdoor exhibits or events.