St. Joe demo scheduled to resume one year after process began

A wrecking ball is scheduled to start swinging again at Ottumwa’s St. Joseph housing site on Monday.

Contractors started to tear down the old five-story hospital on North Ash Street last summer. Demolition was then placed on hold for several months due to a contract dispute between Elder Construction and Des Moines-based real estate developer, Blackbird Investments.

In May, Blackbird was still in the process of settling the dispute. By then, developers had already moved forward with a different demolition team.

Drish Construction Inc., of Fairfield, is now tasked with removing what’s left of the crumbling structure.

Blackbird spokeswoman, Rachel Wegmann tells KTVO the process has already begun. She said 30 loads of rubble were hauled off Thursday, equipment is being moved on-site Friday, a crane is also being assembled Friday and on Monday, demolition will get underway.

Blackbird is reminding members of the public to stay outside the fenced-in area.

When asked if the contract dispute had been settled, Wegmann did not indicate one way or the other but did say Blackbird is thrilled to have St. Joe as an active construction site again.