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90-day reprieve granted for 211 E. Hickory

Profile image for By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer
By Peggy Heinkel-Wolfe / Staff Writer

Building targeted by code enforcement to get new roof, facade

Denton’s Health and Building Standards Commission granted a 90-day reprieve to the owners of 211 E. Hickory St., after a contractor presented a rehabilitation plan for the historic building.

Salty Rishel, owner of Denton-based Distinct Designs Construction, told the commission this week that his work would include not only re-roofing the building but also updating the facade.

Rishel and others provided testimony to the commission at its regular meeting Thursday afternoon, as it considered for the second time in two months whether to declare the 80-year-old building substandard, the first step toward possible demolition.

Instead, Rishel is working with the property owners to ready the building for leasing and expects to be finished about 75 days after all city permits for the work are granted.

The building is one of several on East Hickory Street subject to the city’s recent code enforcement efforts.

Jimmy Normile, owner of Barney’s Auto Parts, has put his historic building up for sale after he received a code enforcement notice in May that the city considers his a dangerous building. After receiving code enforcement notices last year, Rob Storrie closed his small-engine repair shop inside the historic Travelstead building in January.

Last year, the Denton City Council authorized about $3.1 million for a “grand street” project along Hickory Street. From the Square to Bell Avenue, the city plan includes not only public utility upgrades but also many aesthetic improvements from sidewalks to streetlights.

Rishel updated the commission, both in a letter dated June 20, and in sworn testimony Thursday — required by the quasi-judicial nature of the proceedings — that he had spent the past month putting together what was needed for city permits. That included contracting an architect and a structural engineer and lining up subcontractors, he said.

He told the commission he expected to have the permits needed to do the work on Thursday. Work would begin about 10 days after that and, barring problems with the weather, would take about 60 days to complete.

Despite the fact that the testimony was sworn, commission members asked the city staff to verify what Rishel said.

Daniel Glassmyer, a code enforcement inspector, told the commission that he had seen the plans and they exceeded code enforcement requirements.

“We are pleased with the work he’s done; we’re very happy with the progress,” Glassmyer said.

In particular, Glassmyer pointed to the facade work, which was planned together with the city’s economic development staff.

Rishel made application for a downtown reinvestment grant on June 13 and was awarded $10,000 to help with the roof work and with the changes to the facade.

He wasn’t at liberty to say how much the building owners were paying for the whole project, but he said the grant would go a long way to help with the costs.

A longtime contractor who lives in the Oak-Hickory Historic District, one of the city’s two historically designated neighborhoods, Rishel said he has helped rehabilitate six buildings downtown in the past year.

PEGGY HEINKEL-WOLFE can be reached at 940-566-6881 and via Twitter at @phwolfeDRC.