City sets deadline for decision on Longhorn’s futureThe city of Mitchell wants an answer on the old Longhorn Bar building: Fix it up or tear it down.
By: Tom Lawrence, The Daily Republic
The city of Mitchell wants an answer on the old Longhorn Bar building: Fix it up or tear it down.
Thursday, Public Works Director Tim McGannon had more barricades placed around the bar, which has been closed for almost four months. The 133-year-old structure is the oldest in the city.
McGannon also sent a letter to Jason Bates, who owns the building at 101 N. Main St., seeking action.
McGannon said the city needs to ensure it’s safe and people will not be injured by falling debris. That’s why the additional barricades were installed, he said.
“It’s a warning to the public,” McGannon said.
He said Bates should receive the letter today or Saturday. McGannon said he wants a plan in place either to secure the building or to remove it. The plan must be ready by April 9.
Bates was surprised to learn the barricades had been put in place.
He said support walls have been placed inside the old bar, which was built in 1879. There is no danger of collapse, Bates said, and he’s informed Public Safety Chief Lyndon Overweg of that.
The bar closed in November when part of a wall and the ceiling collapsed inside the business. Some rubble also landed outside the building. Since that time, some barricades have stood on the building’s south side. More barricades were added to the east side Thursday.
The building is made of chalkstone, also known as river stone, quarried from an area near the James River during the days of the Dakota Territory.
It has housed many businesses and for the past several decades has been a blue-collar bar, popular with locals and often busy at night and on weekends.
When told of the 30-day deadline the city was imposing, Bates said it would be impossible to meet.
“It’s not going to happen,” he said before cutting an interview short. “I’m still fighting with the insurance company.”
He bought the bar from his dad, Charlie Bates, last fall. The LeMars Insurance Co. has filed a legal document alleging that the insurance policy covering the bar was with Charlie Bates, not Jason, and therefore the insurance company is not liable for any damage to the building.
The bar business has been moved across the street to a different building, but a sign on the door of the old Longhorn still says it’s only closed for remodeling and advises people to use the back door.
The Longhorn name is now physically and legally linked to Big Dummy’s, a bar that Jason Bates has owned and operated for several years. He has a single liquor license for both bars.
The old Longhorn Bar building in Mitchell has been closed since Nov. 15. This photo was taken Thursday after the city placed more barricades around the 132-year-old structure to ensure public safety.