5-year-old Hazle building dispute may end soon

-A A +A
By Linda Ireland

Businessman Charles “Red” Hazle told Hodgenville City Council last week he would need 60 more days to complete work on a concrete block building that has been the bane of two administrations.

City council gave him 30.

Hazle was first ordered to “fix or raze” the building at the corner of Water Street and North Walters Avenue in 2003 when Roger Truitt was mayor. The building still stood when Terry Cruse was elected mayor two years ago. After five years of legal wrangling and work extensions granted, there may soon be an end to the issue.

In June 2007, Hazle told council members he had hired a contractor, David Upton Jr., to repair a third of the building. The rest of the building was to be demolished. The work was to be completed by Nov. 15, 2007.

The council has granted extensions to Hazle at almost every meeting since then.

In August, Cruse reported that Hazle had hired someone to tear down the remaining freestanding walls of the building. The walls are still standing as of print deadline Tuesday.

Hazle said he had worked out an agreement with John Blunk to remove the outer walls and make parking spaces for Blunk’s restaurant. Blunk and his partners David and Shirley Wilkerson are planning to re-open the former Mama Sond’s Cafe under the name “Abe’s Country Cooking.” The parking spaces will be behind the restaurant.

Hazle said Blunk had agreed to do the work for free.

Councilman Kenny Devore showed some exasperation over the situation.

 “I have no expectations that this won’t go on forever,” he said. “Could we shoot for Lincoln Days? Do you think you could have it done by Lincoln Days?” (Lincoln Days will be Oct. 4-5.)

Hazle did not reply to Devore, but after Cruse questioned him further, he responded: “He’s doing this at no cost to me. He’s wanting the space, so I don’t think I should rush him.”

The council members also questioned Hazle about completing the section of building that is partially under roof. Devore asked if he had purchased the metal yet.

“No, but there’s no trouble to get it there,” Hazle said. He then requested 60 more days to give Blunk time to remove the walls.

Cruse told Hazle he appreciated his progress on the building.

The council agreed to review the matter again in 30 days. Devore was opposed.