Officials considering tearing down 100-year-old City Hall after - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Officials considering tearing down 100-year-old City Hall after arson case

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UPDATE: Clarksville city council members have a big decision whether to knock down their 100-year-old building after it was intentionally set on fire.

23-year-old Nicolas Wessels is facing second degree arson charges, accused of setting the fire with a lighter back in July causing extensive damage. The police department, city clerk and the maintenance department are all currently working out of a 57 foot trailer.

"It's a little crowded with all of us in here,"' says Mayor Val Swinton.

The City Hall building was built in 1917 and was sadly set on fire 100 years later.

Swinton says, "It's 100 years of history. We used to have a library in there, a jail... there's a lot of history here."

But soon this historic building may be gone. City council is discussing whether it's best to tear it down.

"We are thinking about all the problems with the building as a whole. We had a structural expert do a walk-through and his first impression was it would be cheaper to build a new one than try to fix the building," Swinton says. 

It's a decision that will officially be made next week.

As for the fire, the mayor says he still doesn't know why someone would intentionally set City Hall on fire.

"Why would he pick City Hall? Why would he even do it? That has everyone puzzled. Nobody knows for sure, so it's a little frustrating to cause this damage and we have no idea why," he says.

At next week's meeting, city council members will hire someone to do a detailed assessment before they decide whether the building is fixable or if it's best to start new.


CLARKSVILLE (KWWL) -UPDATE: 100 years after being built, the inside of Clarksville City Hall is torched.

The damage inside is extensive. Recent records and documents have been digitally backed up, but things like equipment and historical records were destroyed. 

"We lost some that dated back before the turn of the 20th century," Mayor Val Swinton said.

The mayor says he has no idea why someone would set City Hall on fire.

"We have no idea what the motive was. Neither the city clerk nor police chief have had any run-ins with this gentleman (Wessels)  so we are not sure why or what the motive would have been," Swinton said.

The Butler County Sheriff's Office is taking over the investigation. 

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