Regarding the Pawnee Hotel, the building has sat empty now for a very short time. The last inhabitants of the hotel, as most everyone knows, were individuals suffering from different forms of mental illness (requiring assisted living status) and older people with special medical and assisted living needs. What was apparent to me, the closing came about because of onsite inspections by HHS who found numerous areas deficient. When the news broke that the hotel was deeply in the red having not paid for proper insurance, unpaid utility bills, the heating system beyond repair and other deplorable conditions, residents began to move out. With more empty rooms and less income from Medicare and Medicaid, the fate was imminent.
But now, after only a short period of time, the city council approved an application to clearly get in the way for the owners to demolish the building. I would think that every member of the council has taken the time inspect every room in the hotel, but I do not think that type of inspection has been made. The application to declare the hotel an historic site said nothing as to what business would open the doors and try to make the hotel a profitable adventure and an attractive entity for our downtown.
I believe it will sit empty for a very long time. I believe the hotel is history. Sandy, the director of the hotel during its struggles said the hotel was an albatross for her and now the city council wants to add ordinances to the books making it harder for the hotel to be demolished. I hope to live long enough to see the crane, complete with wrecking ball, roll into town. I suggest, when the Pawnee Hotel is gone, that we put a plaque on the site indicating that once upon a time the Pawnee Hotel was here and designated as a national historic site.
I believe the hotel right now is rundown and is ready for the wrecking ball. I'm anxious to see who has the money to reopen the hotel - grand in it's day but now should become history.
By David Olson, North Platte