Corn Signs sees end of history

Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Gary Corn, center, and daughter Desiree Corn, right, watch and recall memories as a bulldozer picks up pieces of the home that belonged to Gary's parents, and his family business, Corn Signs, a fixture of Cassville for over 60 years that was demolished early Wednesday morning. Corn's other daughters and wife also came to be by Corn's side. The South Barry County Hospital District purchased the property this summer with plans to use the area to expand their parking lot. Since building a clinic approximately four years ago, parking space has been limited. Julia Kilmer/

Gary Corn: 'I've had time to prepare, and I am ready'

A large void can now be seen at 90 Main Street where Corn Signs has sat for more than 60 years.

After the South Barry County Hospital District purchased the property this summer to expand Mercy Hospital's parking lot, plans were tentatively set to demolish the business, and adjacent home, soon thereafter. The property sat untouched for a months, until the morning of Dec. 2, when Couch Excavating Company began the demolition at 7 a.m.

Gary Corn and his family stood by to watch the business and family home that had been a fixture of Main Street for over 60 years, along with its memories, be torn down.

"I've had time to prepare, and feel like I'm ready," Corn said.

According to David Cole, chairman of the hospital district, Mercy has been in need of more parking space since its new clinic building opened in approximately 2011.

"Parking has been a little tight sometimes," he said. "We're really pleased with [the expansion], and this is just another step to better serve the citizens of our district."

Cole said he anticipates the project being completed 
sometime this spring, depending on weather.

"Hopefully, it will be as soon as we can because we feel like it's a need we have, so we're going to take care of that," he said.

The cost to demolish the property, design and create the parking lot and landscaping is expected to total approximately $200,000.

"We anticipate using the whole area for parking," Cole said.

Now that Corn Signs has been demolished and the hospital is clearly visible, Cole said the board is going to decide what needs to be done to make the entire area look aesthetically pleasing.

"We wanted to get the existing structure torn down, then look at it and make some better decisions -- the visuals and landscaping," he said. "This is the first step."

Cole said he was appreciative of Gary Corn.

"[Corn Signs was] there for so long and were just fixtures of this community," he said. "In a way, there's always a little twinge of melancholy when you see something that's been there so long disappear. It's bittersweet. The Corns have been very good to work with, and we're appreciative to them and they, to us, for what we do in the community. Gary's not going anywhere."

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