Collapsed foundation wall closes Front Street indefinitely
Front Street in downtown Pataskala will remain closed until the foundation of the building at the northeast corner of Front and Main streets is repaired, which could cause problems for the annual street fair Aug. 14-17, city officials say.
During a heavy rain in Pataskala on Monday, July 22, about 20 feet of the building's southern foundation wall collapsed.
Building owner Carl Roshong said the cause of the collapse has not been determined.
"There was no internal damage from this event," Roshong said. "The only damage is to about 20 feet of the wall that caved in."
Roshong said he has spoken with structural engineers but is unsure of when repairs could be completed on the building, which was built in 1895.
"It will not be available for habitation for several months," Roshong said.
Todd Belt of Belt Insurance Agency was in the building and reported the collapse, said Chief Ken Mathews of the West Licking Joint Fire District.
The stairs to Belt's office at 10 Front St. were dislocated when the wall caved in.
Mathews said no one was injured but the fire department had to evacuate Belt and the residents of a house directly to the north.
"I think (the neighbors) stayed someplace else overnight and were allowed to go back in about 1 p.m. the next day, (Tuesday, July 23)," Mathews said.
State Route 310 was closed July 22 and part of July 23, as well, said Chief Bruce Brooks of the Pataskala Division of Police.
Third-shift officers worked overtime into the morning of July 23 to keep traffic routed around the scene, Brooks said.
Officers were stationed at U.S. Route 40 and Main Street and at Broad and Main streets after the incident.
"We were trying to keep truck traffic from coming by the building so the vibration of the semis wouldn't make things worse," Brooks said.
Belt is one of two business owners who lease space in the building. The message on his office phone said his office would be closed until further notice.
City Councilman Mike Fox's businesses also are based in the building.
Fox said he can operate his security business, Fox's Locks and Security, out of his home on Broad Street but Fox's Archery and Firearms will be closed until the building is repaired.
Fox said his license to sell firearms does not allow him to transfer sales to any other address.
Fox said he had planned to request a conditional-use permit from the city to expand his firearms business and open a firearms training facility in the building's basement.
He said he installed a drain tile in the basement a few months ago, but it was not near the south side of the foundation.
Mathews said the building will remain unoccupied until building officials deem it is safe again.
Brooks said keeping Front Street closed could present another problem because Front Street is used heavily during Pataskala's annual street fair, scheduled Aug. 14-17.
The street fair is organized by the West Licking Firefighters Association as a fundraiser. It takes place on Main Street between Mill and Railroad streets.
Brooks said having Front Street closed during the street fair could affect activities and detours around the fair.