City officials say they are continuing to keep a close eye on the demolition and cleanup progress at the site of the former Ambassador hotel, 3603 Vine.
The Hays City Commission earlier this month approved an abatement for the former hotel, meaning the city has the legal right to hire its own contractors to finish cleaning up the debris. The contractors hired by the building’s owner, however, have been showing more progress, and city officials are hoping they will continue to finish the job as quickly as possible, said Assistant City Manager Jacob Wood.
“It’s still better for everybody if their contractors can get it done,” Wood said. “They are willing to work with us at this point. They have starting moving forward.”
Construction crews have been in the process of sorting metal debris and hauling it off for disposal in Great Bend. That’s a tedious process, and Wood said city officials are monitoring the contractors’ progress closely.
“We are going to monitor the situation. If it gets to the point we don’t feel like they’re working fast enough, we might have to hire somebody else to do it,” he said.
If the city gets involved, it would have to pay the associated costs, which then would be placed on the property as a lien for future reimbursement.
The hotel ceased operations in December 2015 and a demolition permit was issued by the city in November 2016. It initially was expected to take six to eight weeks.
Destruction seemingly halted for several months beginning this spring, allegedly due to the discovery of more asbestos in the site, which had to be remediated. The demolition contractor, meanwhile, was forced to take a break and took on additional work, contributing to the delay.
A representative of the property owner told city commissioners earlier this month they were seeking additional contractors to help.
The hotel building has been completely demolished, with the exception of a large awning that also will be removed. A massive amount of rubble remains to be sorted and hauled off the site.
Even if the city were to get involved, the reality is it will take time to finish the huge project, Wood said.
“Either way, it’s not going to be an overnight thing,” he said. “There is a lot of work that needs to be done.”