BAMBERG, S.C. (WJBF) — A partial building collapse in Bamberg, South Carolina have officials working to clear it up and figure out what needs to be in the area.

“People don’t want to come here and see stuff like this,” John Molinksy told NewsChannel 6’s Shawn Cabbagestalk when looking at the downtown Bamberg area. Molinsky has been living in the area for more than a decade.  In those 12 years, he says things have definitely changed in the small city. “This town was nothing like this,” he added.

Now a partial building collapse among many other older buildings has him concerned. “This building’s been like this for over a year or more, and we’d been on them, and on them, and on them to tear it down,” he said. “We knew it was in bad shape. We didn’t expect to fall as soon as it has,” Mayor Nancy Foster said.

Mayor Foster says following the incident, a structural engineer was brought in the next day to see if it could be salvaged. The City wanted to restore the building but now that isn’t an option.  “The owner had neglected it so water was getting in it. The window downstairs was broken so, that just wasn’t much support there from that picture window. Water was getting in and it was rotten.”

COVID-19 has the cash-strapped city tightening its belt even more with its finances and now this expensive project with some figures calling for up to $35,000 to demolish it. We’ve learned the owner that was behind in taxes and the property has now gone into the county’s Forfeited Land Commission. Funds will come from the Commission with the City only being responsible for cleanup. “Thank goodness the county is working with us. Of course, the county owns the landfill. So we feel like those fees can be waived.”

Now crews are working to remove the old building. “We got to get some kind of attraction here. We got to do something,” Molinsky added.

Foster says that now that a grocery store is back in the City, she can now focus on taking care of the downtown area starting with a streetscape project. “We really are working and downtown is a priority with me,” she shared.

The estimated figures for the project, including clean up and manpower, won’t be available until after the work is completed.

Officials hope to have the area cleaned up by the end of the week.