MOUNT CARMEL — After over a year of searching for the building's rightful heir, the city of Mount Carmel has acquired the deteriorating Warren Building.
The roof of the property located at 321 North Market Street caved in at the end of September 2015, and the city has since been searching for a solution.
James "Jimmy" Warren, owner of Warren World Oil, and the last known owner of the property passed away June 22, 2013. City Attorney Tom Price has been on a wild goose chase attempting to find the heir.
"After much delay, last week I acquired the real estate for the Warren property from the sole heir so that the city is now in possession to do something with the property," Price said. "I wanted to thank her, because she cooperated and it was a complicated situation. As you know it was an incorporation, the incorporation was dissolved, so then you have to find out who the owner was and that person died, then the state was not probated so you had to find out who the sole and only heir was! You had to run them down, get affidavits and get a deed and that's what we've done."
The building is a total loss and a safety hazard, so the city plans to demolish it as soon as possible. Mayor Bill Hudson said a date will hopefully be set for June, as the damage to the building appears worse after last week's storm.
The Warren Building acquisition will be Price's last act as city attorney, as he announced his retirement effective June 1, after nearly 25 years of service.
"I just don't have the energy I once had," he said. "It's been a privilege, a real privilege serving the city."
City Clerk Rudy Witsman sentimentally thanked Price for his years of service.
"I have had the pleasure of serving this city as mayor, and it was during that term that I served that the city attorney that we had was elected at that time as state's attorney," Witsman said. "I was privilege to nominate — and the council accepted — the nomination of Mr. Price as city attorney. He has been nothing but very fair, very cost conscious to help the city with his fees and all. He has looked out for us and has done a good job for the community and I do want to say here today thank you for what you have done.