ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Progress is being stalled for one Abilene veteran’s project, and now there’s only a short time left to make the dream a reality. What’s considered an eye sore and a nuisance in the City of Abilene could be demolished unless a veterans non-profit organization can act in turning it around.
During this week’s Abilene’s Board of Building Standards meeting, a 4-to-3 vote was the only thing that kept the building standing.
One board member said, “I still think what we have before us is still coming really close to a demolition order, and if that doesn’t shake the owners in coming to a meeting like this we’re going uphill now.”
Members of the board decide whether a building is fit to be occupied or not, and that’s how close the old Abilene Hotel off East Highway 80 became demolished.
The hotel is being considered to be used to help Big Country veterans as housing for an extended period of time. So, when the owner of the property did not show up for the meeting, board members were frustrated and doubtful as to whether the hotel would move forward.
“We don’t have an asbestos report, a survey, and we don’t have any of the required paperwork to move forward with the payment permit process,” said the person in charge of the agenda.
The potential buyer, Brian Meslin, informed us that he had no idea that the meeting was even taking place.
“We’re not here to hide, we just weren’t informed that this was even going on,” said Meslin.
With the lack of communication and consistency from the owner, following little progress in getting the project underway, president and founder of the “Rise as One Foundation” non-profit Joseph Schirmer assures the board and Abilene that they’re still committed to making this space available to our veterans.
“We’re not going to stop regardless of what’s happening, who’s on board who’s not on board, every single day we’re going to get up and we’re going to move this needle forward and make sure our veterans are taken care of ,” said Schirmer.
Both Meslin and Schirmer say they want to apologize to the Board and now want to ask the community for help with funding.
“I’d like to reach out to the Abilene community and see if there is anybody out there that would like to assist us in making this impact, keeping the Abilene Hotel, in helping local veterans to have a better place to live. Please reach out to us, let us know what you can help with, and let’s go from there,” said Meslin.
If you would like to learn more about The Rise as One Foundation and how you can help support the Veteran’s extended stay project click here.