With just over a month to go before the Capital Plaza Tower is slated to come down, local officials are scrambling to finalize plans for the demolition.
Renascent, the company hired to implode the 28-story building, told The State Journal last week that Feb. 25 was the date it had marked on its calendar.
“That kind of got out, wasn’t supposed to — it was a little mess-up apparently,” Mayor Bill May told his colleagues at the Capital Plaza Area Community Engagement Committee meeting on Wednesday.
Indeed, City Manager Cindy Steinhauser said the city had received a request to extend when contractors could demolish the building and was drafting an email suggesting alternate dates to the Finance and Administration Cabinet.
The weekend of Feb. 25 is expected to be one of Frankfort’s busiest, with the annual Kentucky State Dance Competition to be held at Kentucky State University. The competition drew about 6,000 visitors to the Frankfort Convention Center over two days in 2016, according to data from the Frankfort/Franklin County Tourist and Convention Commission.
On Wednesday, Tourism Commission Robin Antenucci asked for better communication at the local level.
“As the city and the people that live here, it would be nice to know at multiple levels what the plan is,” Antenucci said. “And we thought there was going to be communication to that effect. I don’t know if there has been or there hasn’t been, but it seems like there hasn’t been.”
Committee members, who are now looking to delay demolition by a week or more, also weighed the costs and benefits of encouraging spectators to come out for the demolition, which Franklin County Judge-Executive Huston Wells described as “probably one of the biggest things that has happened in Frankfort in a long time — and into the future.”
“As your city manager, I would suggest we discourage people because in a situation that involves explosions, you never know what is going to happen,” said Steinhauser. “And it just creates an even greater burden on police, fire and emergency services if you’re dealing with emergency response and you’ve got to deal with spectators as much as you have to deal with people who live here and people that are on site.”
Ceremonies to mark the event have yet to be determined. In the Finance Cabinet’s request for proposals on the project, the Finance Secretary William Landrum reserved the right to “push the plunger” detonator should the Capital Plaza Tower be imploded or to otherwise initiate demolition.
The state also reserved all movie rights with regard to the filming of the demolition.