After decades of back and forth between city officials and a few owners, the city of Forsyth will finally see one of the city’s most dangerous buildings demolished.
The Shadow Rock Lodge property is home to two buildings, one of which will be torn down as part of Forsyth’s initiative to rid the city of unsafe buildings. Demolition of the building will begin next week, according to Forsyth Ward I Alderman Scott Novak. Shadow Rock Lodge Owner Dru Christen, who was approached by the city to remedy the issue of the dangerous building last year, has hired a specialist to take care of the asbestos mitigation before the demolition of the building commences.
“The demo will begin with asbestos mitigation next week, with a demo following at the old and dangerous Shadow Rock Lodge,” Novak told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “This was a determined and combined effort by the current board, as well as previous Mayor Kelly Doughtery, that has been needed to be done for decades.”
Shadow Rock Lodge is located at 176 Forsyth-Taneyville Road in Forsyth. The building coming down has been vacant for over a decade and the city of Forsyth has been in discussions with previous and the current owner about the motel since at least 2009, according to the Branson Tri-Lakes News archives.
On March 21, 2009 Forsyth city officials discussed the options with then owner, Robert Little, about the building being an eyesore and dangerous. “We’ve got two issues…No. 1 is appearance and No. 2 is safety,” said then Mayor David Oliphant during the 2009 Board of Aldermen meeting. “It is a terrible eyesore, in my opinion.”
Current Alderman Ward I Missi Hesketh, who was also on the board in 2009, voiced her concern over the safety of the building in 2009, when the city building inspector checked the building and found the vacant motel structure fit the criteria for dangerous or unsafe buildings. During the 2009 meeting, Little and Hesketh went back and forth about the owner’s responsibility of tearing down the building or bringing it up to code.
“We don’t condemn the building. We notify you that the building is deemed unsafe by the city of Forsyth and then you have responsibilities that follow,” Hesketh said in the 2009 meeting. “You can either bring it up to our city code or you pay to get it demolished.”
Little vacated the building but refused to bring it up to code or demolish it. Since the 2009 meeting the building has seen a few owners, including two of the business’s original investors when they purchased the property back in 2011, according to Branson Tri-Lakes News archives. In 2011, repairs were made to the adjacent building, while the dangerous Shadow Rock Lodge motel building remained boarded up and unsafe for the public. In April of 2012, the adjacent building, which hosted a bar and lounge with 21 rental rooms, was opened back up. However, the dangerous building remained closed.
By 2016, the property was once again up for sale when former Mayor Eddie Coleman was seeking an investor to purchase the property to remodel and reopen the adjacent building. At the time, Coleman said in a 2016 Branson Tri-Lakes News interview, an investor could remodel once again the bar and lounge building but the Shadow Rock Lodge motel building was in need of being torn down.
In 2018, a new investor, Christen, purchased the property with both buildings. A Facebook page ‘Shadow Rock Holdings LLC’ was launched in December of 2018. According to the page, Shadow Rock Lodge is a bar cafe lodge with 21 hotel rooms and real estate services. Since purchasing the property and launching the social media page, the property has not really seen much remodeling to the salvageable building and the dangerous building also remained standing.
After Hesketh was elected to an Alderman seat in April of 2021, she and her fellow Aldermen; Dustin Krob, Dennis Winzenried and Novak once again took up the crusade to address the dangerous and unsafe buildings in city limits, including Shadow Rock Lodge. After a back and forth with Forsyth Fire Chief Nathan Bower and Christen, the latter attended an Aldermen meeting. At a Forsyth Aldermen meeting earlier this year, Christen said she was actively seeking out a solution for the removal of the unsafe building and was looking into remodeling the other.
Hesketh told Branson Tri-Lakes News she is glad steps are finally being taken to remove the building, which has been a public safety concern for many years.
“It has been wonderful being part of the team working to get this particular building demolished,” Hesketh told Branson Tri-Lakes News. “Forsyth is fortunate to have employees who take direction and get jobs done. The Forsyth Board of Aldermen is grateful to the current owner for complying with our requests for updates and for the actions that are being taken to rid our community of such a visible nuisance, danger, and liability.
“Last year, the Board of Alderman directed Chief Bower and the building inspector to create a list of buildings which were in obvious signs of distress and in violation of our Dangerous Buildings (Chapter 505) and/or Nuisance (Chapter 220) ordinances. Those buildings are being monitored, permits for repairs are being issued, and improvements made.”
Hesketh said she understands the costs to update and repair and in this instance to demolish properties.
“I think I speak for the board when I say that we are sensitive to the fact that, unfortunately, many properties have been allowed to get into costly states of disrepair due to previous lack of enforcement and follow-through,” Hesketh said. “So it is going to take some time, but we are going to continue working on making properties safer, as well as aesthetically pleasing for the benefit of everyone.”
For more information contact Forsyth City Hall at 417-546-4763.
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