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Sam Bretschnieder of Indiana Earth Inc. works to demolish the former Walter Piano factory Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at West Beardsley Avenue and North Michigan Street in Elkhart. Mayor Dick Moore hopes to redevelop the 3.2-acre property as a high-tech industrial park. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Sam Bretschnieder of Indiana Earth Inc. works to demolish the former Walter Piano factory Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at West Beardsley Avenue and North Michigan Street in Elkhart. Mayor Dick Moore hopes to redevelop the 3.2-acre property as a high-tech industrial park. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Sam Bretschnieder of Indiana Earth Inc. works to demolish the former Walter Piano factory Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at West Beardsley Avenue and North Michigan Street in Elkhart. Mayor Dick Moore hopes to redevelop the 3.2-acre property as a high-tech industrial park. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Sam Bretschnieder of Indiana Earth Inc. works to demolish the former Walter Piano factory Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at West Beardsley Avenue and North Michigan Street in Elkhart. Mayor Dick Moore hopes to redevelop the 3.2-acre property as a high-tech industrial park. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)

Sam Bretschnieder of Indiana Earth Inc. works to demolish the former Walter Piano factory Wednesday, Feb. 20, 2013, at West Beardsley Avenue and North Michigan Street in Elkhart. Mayor Dick Moore hopes to redevelop the 3.2-acre property as a high-tech industrial park. (Truth Photo By Ryan Dorgan) (AP)
Demolition under way at West Beardsley eyesore
Posted on Feb. 22, 2013 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Feb. 22, 2013 at 3:03 p.m.

ELKHART — A big eyesore in Elkhart is in the midst of disappearing.

Demolition is under way at the old Walter Piano site at the corner of 700 W. Beardsley Ave. and Michigan Street on the city’s north side.

Demolition began about a week ago and a small percentage of the buildings and contents have been knocked down and removed, according to Denny Correll, brownfield coordinator for the city.

Correll predicted all of the buildings will be knocked down and cleared away by about April 6.

Some of the buildings are within a few feet of the street, but Correll said an effort is being made to avoid debris falling into the nearby streets or sidewalks.

Efforts to limit the amount of dust have gone well, in part, because of the heavy winter air, Correll said.

Workers have already removed much of the burned-out portion of the main building and have begun knocking down part of a building on the property’s northwest corner.

Correll estimated Friday 10 to 15 percent of the demolition has happened.

The newly organized North Riverside Neighborhood Association has been watching the process closely. The group created an email list to update residents on the demolition.

Kirsten Senne, vice chairwoman of the association, said she can see part of the property from her home. She’s pleased with how the city and contractors are handling the work.

“We are very excited about the fact it is being demolished and believe that it will lead to a positive redevelopment at the site, which will contribute to the quality of life in surrounding neighborhoods,” Senne said.

Indiana Earth Inc. of Osceola was hired to do the work for just under $400,000.

Bruce Carter and Associates was hired by the city to oversee the project.

The property has gone through numerous owners and has been vacant for several years. The city acquired the land late last year after the most recent owner indicated no interest in the property.

The land had been considered a safety concern for a while and became a bigger concern after a fire caused further damage last summer.

Much of the demolition costs are being paid with money from a grant.

After cleanup is complete, the city hopes to place the property on the market.