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Delayed project on the Shelbyville Square

Posted on Wednesday, June 5, 2024 at 8:20 am


Anyone who has visited or driven through Shelbyville’s Historic Square has probably noticed the scaffolding at 118 Public Square East.

When owner Watson McCollister noticed bricks buckling out of the front, he called in a contractor to do the work.

“I feel a responsibility to this 135-year-old building that has been there for a long time and was– and still is–a beautiful building,” McCollister told The Post. “There was an issue. Bricks were bowing out and they probably had been bowing out for decades.”

Originally, Bogle Construction of Murfreesboro was hired to renovate the front wall and scaffolding was supposed to be up for about one month. For reasons undisclosed at this time, Bogle did not complete the work.

But there is light at the end of the tunnel for McCollister and his nine commercial tenants residing in it, which include Shelbyville staple Pope’s Cafe.

Dowdle Construction Group, the same company doing work at the old Kyle Bonding Building—which is set to become a Grindstone Cowboy—has taken up where the previous contractors left off.

“They have a lot of experience doing historic work. I am extremely excited they’re coming in and very confident in their ability to remedy the situation,” said McCollister.

Preserving the building’s 135 years of history is a reason why people like McCollister take the time and money to upkeep maintenance.

“I feel confident that what we’re going to be left with is a building that looks like it did before. Maintaining the architectural character of the building is really important to me. That character is one of the reasons I bought it,” McCollister said.

And he expects a “very extensive” tie-back system to be implemented, so once the bricks are positioned back, they will stay for another 200 years.

“They’re not going anywhere once we get this done,” he said.

McCollister said they now have a contract and a plan to move forward and complete the job as quickly as possible.

The building and its businesses are still open.

“That scaffolding has been very challenging to all the businesses in there because people don’t know they’re still open,” said McCollister, who added that BoxDrop— was forced to move out of the building. BoxDrop is now located at 912 N Main St.

“This property means a lot to me. I feel a huge responsibility to my tenants,” said McCollister. “I have nine commercial tenants in there. I am obligated to provide them with a safe, good space for their businesses.

“And, I want to be a part of Shelbyville and its growth.”

The Post will continue to monitor this story and keep readers updated on the situation.