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Downtown building collapse: Two weeks later

Published: Apr. 22, 2021 at 5:00 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - For the past 14 days a portion of 23rd Avenue has been closed due to a building collapse. Barricades are still in place and the owner of the building hopes movement will begin as early as Friday or this weekend.

“We are unable to reopen the street yet. With the building still being intact, we didn’t want any other debris falling and we didn’t want any sort of public safety issue to arise from that,” said community development director, Laura Carmichael.

Sam Dabit, part-owner of the building, released a statement Thursday:
“We are still waiting on our insurance to give us the go ahead. Last that I heard (Tuesday) is that they are still waiting on their engineer report. So, to get things moving, I have asked a contractor to come by and take down the remaining brick wall that looks unsafe, that way we can get 23rd Avenue opened up as quickly as we can safely. He was supposed to be out there Thursday morning, to take care of that issue. So hopefully we can get 23rd Avenue opened up, partially, by this weekend.”
As of 1:30 p.m. Thursday, nothing had been removed.
“The street being open is contingent on when the building can be demolished. We are working hand in hand with the property owner and hopefully demolition will being in the next day,” Carmichael said.
Aside from a major inconvenience for motorists, the collapse was detrimental to Jenkin’s Barbershop, which is located in part of the collapsed structure. After being closed for nearly two weeks, the shop has re-opened in a temporary location. “The mayor and his brother reached out to me about this temporary place until we can get established,” owner Kevin Jenkins said. “We like it. It’s gotten us back in business. It’s been two weeks today.”
The barbershop is now located on the corner of 18th Avenue and 6th Street The address is 1727 6th St. Some of Jenkins’ equipment remains in the old location.
“We still have to get our stuff out of there. We are here right now and waiting on a call to get our stuff. As for now, we are temporarily in,” Jenkins said.
Jenkins remains confident and is happy to serve his clients once again. He plans on being in this location for at least the next three months.
“We are here just temporarily, but we are looking for a permanent place to be for good. We like this one but we’re looking,” Jenkins explained. “The last six months have been kind of rough on me. I’ve had a long road. With God in my life, we can do all things through him.”

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