'It's time for them to come down': Another aging downtown Mitchell building approved for demolition

“There’s a hole in the roof. There’s some structural damage in there. There’s mold in there,” Jenniges said of the corroding conditions at the 116 and 118 East. First Ave. buildings.

The 116 and 118 East First Avenue buildings in Mitchell, pictured here in March, will soon be torn down.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

MITCHELL — Another pair of corroding buildings in downtown Mitchell will be coming down.

The century-old buildings, located at 116 and 118 E. First Ave., are dealing with a hole in the roof that’s led to water damage and other issues, according to City Planner Mark Jenniges. Due to the rough condition of the structure that was built in 1910, the Mitchell City Council approved the property owner’s permit to have the buildings torn down.

“There’s a hole in the roof. There’s some structural damage in there. There’s mold in there,” Jenniges said of the buildings’ issues. “There’s not a lot to salvage in this building.”

The deteriorating wall of the 116 and 118 E. First Ave. buildings that were approved to be demolished.
Adam Thury / Mitchell Republic

Considering the state of the aging buildings, Mitchell City Council President Kevin McCardle said “It’s time for them to come down.”

The buildings sit next to a property that was struck by a drunk driver in 2021, which caused major structural damage to the front of the neighboring building.


In 2020, the former apartment building along the east side of the 116 and 118 E. First Ave. building was torn down due to the property’s dilapidated condition. The demolition of that property caused the stability of the 116 and 118 E. First Ave. buildings to be compromised, a case report indicated. The report also states concerns of the buildings' stability when the neighboring property on the west side is torn down, which is scheduled to take place in the near future.

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Upon reviewing the proposed plan to raze the corroding properties, City Planner Mark Jenniges said the state Historic Preservation Office recommended against tearing down the damaged buildings

What was once a city block filled with a handful of buildings that housed businesses and apartment units will soon become a large vacant lot. The buildings are owned by Eternal Hope LLC, which is operated by Paul Claggett. Documents submitted to the city indicate there are plans to redevelop the downtown lots.

Because the buildings are deemed historic, the demolition plans are required to be reviewed by the South Dakota State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and Mitchell Historic Preservation Committee.

According to Jenniges, the Mitchell Historic Preservation Committee agreed in early April that demolishing the historic buildings was a feasible option due to the "high costs" of repair work needed to renovate the old buildings.

While Mitchell’s Historic Preservation Committee supported the demolition plan, SHPO initially did not. However, Jenniges said SHPO later determined there were “no feasible” alternatives to preserve the buildings other than tearing down the properties.

Before the city can issue the property owner’s demolition permit, Jenniges said SHPO has a 10-day window to provide any more comments on the plan.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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