Demolition of eyesore ‘a long time coming’
By Hank Beckman For The Sun January 19, 2013 4:18PM
Hector Gutierrez of Environmental Cleansing Corporation of Markham sorts wooden debris into a pile while demolishing a building at 420 S. Washington Saturday in Naperville. The site will become a park. Mary Beth Nolan~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 21, 2013 6:32AM
It was a long time coming.
Shortly before 7 a.m. Saturday, a demolition crew from Environmental Cleansing Corporation fired up a backhoe and began demolishing the eyesore building at 420 S. Washington St.
By 11 a.m., most of the actual structure was leveled, and company officials estimated the entire process would be finished by the middle of next week.
“It was a tight fit in a small area,” ECC Project Manager Rich Fraider said said of the 4,900-square-foot building.
The contractor began the project last week by removing asbestos from the structure.
Once the building is completely down, the company will pull up the foundation and back-fill the basement. Then the building considered an eyesore by so many will be history.
The building was erected in 1930, and though most residents today think of it as an unsightly part of the downtown area squeezed in between Burger King and the Moser Bridge, it began life as a car dealership for the DuPage Motor Company.
At various times the building was home to restaurants, doughnut shops, a laundromat, a bike shop and a comic book store.
For many years, it housed Joyce Lange Dance Studio, where Sally Botsworth learned dance as a young girl.
Her family has lived in Naperville since 1982, and they wanted to see a bit of history, so they showed up bright and early Saturday morning with a camera.
“We woke up at five minutes to seven only to find they’d already started,” her father Ken said.
The Botsworths weren’t alone, as many onlookers and curiosity-seekers had their cameras ready to capture the demolition.
North Central College Vice President of Business Affairs Paul Loshceider said the college recently closed on a deal to purchase the property and to make good on a plan to put a park on the site to serve as a gateway to the college campus.
“We’re working with the city to put a park in here,” he said as he watched the building come down. “It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Most City Council members and other Naperville governmental leaders shared Loscheider’s sentiments.
“This (getting rid of the building) was one of my goals coming in to City Council and it was a weekly phone call to (City Manager) Doug Krieger,” Councilman Steve Chirico said earlier in the week. “But it took longer than I expected.”
“It’s been the question I’ve been asked about the most the last year,” he said. “And it has been a long time coming.”
At the Naperville Area Homeowners Confederation’s monthly meeting Saturday, confederation President Bob Buckman was ecstatic.
“We’re thrilled,” he said. “Isn’t it wonderful that it becomes a a park entrance into North Central College, an institution that we so respect?”