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Structural engineer: Buggy Whip building can be repaired

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Historic Tipp City building collapses

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Tipp City officials earlier said the partially collapsed building poses an ‘imminent danger’

A structural engineer who said he did “a thorough study” of the interior and exterior of the Buggy Whip building in downtown Tipp City found it does not pose a threat and could be repaired.

The findings were reported in a letter dated Thursday to Blake Senseman of Vandalia, owner of the building at 216 E. Main St., where building officials said a partial collapse of a floor into the basement occurred Sunday afternoon. That led to the closing of Main Street (Ohio 571) from the downtown east to Ohio 202 from Sunday afternoon until Wednesday afternoon.

>> RELATED: Part of historic building collapses in downtown Tipp City, blocks road

The closing came as the city on Monday delivered notice to the owner that the building after an exterior review by a city contract engineer and a review by the Miami County building department was “an unsafe structure and an imminent danger.”

The Thursday letter from Larry L. Fast, a forensic engineer from Sylvania, Ohio, met a 5 p.m. Thursday deadline set by city for a response from Senseman. He was ordered by the city to either present a notice from a licensed structural engineer that the building didn’t offer an imminent threat and could be put into a safe condition or to raze the building.

>> RELATED: Tipp City: Collapsed historic building poses ‘imminent threat’

With the Fast letter, John Green, city finance director and acting city manager, contacted other city officials and suggested the city hold off on any enforcement action. The issue should be revisited early next week, Green said in the email to City Manager Tim Eggleston, Law Director Jonathan Freeman and others.

“We will still need to pursue Mr. Senseman for a schedule regarding when he will make the necessary repairs to comply with the Miami County building codes and Tipp City Zoning Codes,” Green said in the email.

The building was constructed in the late 1880s on the site of a mill that had been destroyed by fire, according to information from the Tippecanoe Historical Society. It was the home of a company that made whips for operators of horse drawn buggies. It later was a blacksmith shop, an auto dealership and an antique business.

Fast wrote in letter that the building “does not pose a threat to the public.” If a wall that some feared might collapse would have collapsed, it would have been eastward into a grove of trees and not north toward the street, he said.

“The building, under qualified structural engineering directions, may be repaired so that it may be occupied and continue to be a part of Tipp City’s historic district to attract tourism,” Fast wrote.