H&A stack demolition set for Monday

By William Duffield Staff writer

March 5, 2014

XENIA — After several delays because of weather and reconsideration, the smoke stack at the former Hooven & Allison Cordage Company will meet its fate at 9 a.m. Monday.

The facility, known as “the rope factory” by many Xenians, has been a city landmark. Travelers coming into the city via Cincinnati Avenue would see the smoke stack and know they were in Xenia.

Original plans had called for the stack to be brought down by explosion. Now, however, the method of destruction will be a crane and wrecking ball. There will still only those people authorized by the contractor, Environmental Management Specialists, allowed inside the fence line during that demolition.

“Although there is not the same necessity to keep people back as there was with the explosive demolition, we still want to make sure the public is safe,” Steve Brodsky, Xenia’s director of development, said.

Those wishing to observe the stack come down can gather at A House of Prayer at 282 Stelton Road. The church is allowing the public to use its parking lot. There is also a view of the demolition from the back of the church’s property, which overlooks the former rope factory.

According to Brodsky, the original plan to demolish the stack by using a small explosive process was put in place when Building 2, the main building located along Grove Street, was to remain standing. Because of the tight confines, the use of a crane and wrecking ball would have proven difficult and there was a concern that part of the stack could fall on the building. But, because of structural issues discovered in Building 2, the decision was made for it to be demolished.

“Since Loewendick Demolition Contractors, Inc., the demolition subcontractor, can easily bring in their crane and there is no concern with the stack falling on a building, it has been determined that we will use this more traditional method of demolition,” Brodsky said.

Another factor in the move to the wrecking ball comes from all the weather problems, Brodsky added. Because the weather has delayed preparation work, the explosive demolition contractor would not have been available until late March, and this would have negatively impacted the rest of the project schedule.

The change in method will cause no additional contract costs.

Although the contract price remains the same, using the crane and wrecking ball method will actually be a cost savings to the city. If the explosive demolition would have taken place, it would have required streets to be closed and emergency personnel to be in place in the event of a misfire. This would mean both police and fire departments would have to plan on having additional personnel on duty during the demolition. Those additional personnel should no longer be needed, Brodsky said.

William Duffield can be reached at 937-372-4444 ext. 133 or on Twitter @WilliamDuffield