Western Publishing Building

The Caledonia Village Board on Monday directed the village attorney to issue a raze order for the former Western Publishing building, 5945 Erie St.

GREGORY SHAVER, JOURNAL TIMES FILE PHOTO

CALEDONIA — The Caledonia Village Board has requested that the village attorney prepare a raze order for the former Western Publishing building at 5945 Erie St.

In August, a group of residents living close to the abandoned property filed an open records request and found that in the previous calendar year police had been called to the property 19 times to investigate criminal activity.

In October, village officials told the residents they had inspected the building — once a building that was part of the former Dominican College campus — and found that it was structurally sound and had worked with the owner, 5945 Erie St. LLC, to secure it from trespassers.

Village staff met with some of the building’s neighbors on Nov. 14 to discuss options for how to handle ongoing problems, but made no final decision.

On Monday, the Village Board met in closed session to discuss the property. When it re-opened the session, the board directed the village attorney to issue a raze order.

Village Administrator Tom Christensen said he still believes the property could have been redeveloped, but the neighbors have waited long enough.

“The neighbors have been very patient over the past 15 years with a blighted property in their neighborhood,” Christensen said. “It’s in the best interest of the village to do pursue a resolution to this.”

Christensen said he did not know at this time when the raze order would be executed.

The Racine Unified School District School Board and administration are also discussing plans to demolish the former site of Olympia Brown Elementary School, 5915 Erie St., located across the driveway from the former Western Publishing site. A new Olympia Brown Elementary opened in the summer of 2016 at 2115 5½ Mile Road. The district’s REAL School operated in the Erie Street building until the end of the 2016-17 school year. That program is now housed at 10116 Stellar Ave. in Sturtevant.

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Reporter

Christina Lieffring covers the Burlington area and the Village of Caledonia. Before moving to Racine, she lived in Nebraska, Beijing, Chicago and grew up in Kansas City.

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