Hall to fall

Nearly two years after being destroyed by a fire, the Hall Theatre’s demolition is imminent.

The city of Cassville has been in a legal battle over the building, and Owner Travis James has failed to comply with a court order to demolish the structure, allowing the city legal standing to take it down.

Cassville received two bids for the work, the first for $247,000 from Special Enterprises, LTD, and the second for $97,500 from Courtney Construction LLC. The city awarded the project to the low bidder.

A representative from Courtney Construction attended the Cassville City Council meeting on Feb. 13, saying work will begin in a couple weeks and should take 30-45 days to complete.

Road closures are expected, and the time frame is due to the size of the structure and mitigating impacts on surrounding structures.

“On the second anniversary of the fire, it is nice to get some closure,” said Jon Horner, Cassville alderman.

Steve Walensky, city administrator, said the city will likely own the property eventually, as it will attempt to recoup its expenditures from James through the courts.

Hall Theatre, located at 708 West St. in Cassville, caught fire the morning of March 1, 2022, possibly caused by a candle that burned down or fell on boxes in a bathroom. The case remains under investigation as arson, but no tips have come in for months.

The clean-up effort kicked into high gear in 2023, when the city utilized the Brownfields Voluntary Cleanup Program to solve a possible environmental issue and pave the way for demolition.