Smash and sort – Monthlong demolition begins in downtown Grass Valley |

Smash and sort – Monthlong demolition begins in downtown Grass Valley

Bright and early Monday morning, demolition crews revved up the backhoe and began smashing down Grass Valley’s Cramer building complex, the first of four highly visible sites being demolished over the next month.

The machine took bites out of the concrete walls, exposing the wooden beams, flooring and shelving within.

Down went the former Greyhound bus station, the attorney’s office and the hair salon. Most of the buildings dated from the 1930s and 1940s, possibly built by the operators of the Nevada County Narrow Gauge Railroad.

The crashing and crunching attracted attention from passers-by, who took a few minutes from their Monday to watch the crews destroy the building.

Unlike the others, Jim Kistle made himself comfortable, ready for the show.

“I got nothing better to do today than watch them destroy this place,” Kistle said. The longtime Nevada County resident perched on the Wolf Creek bridge, observing quietly.

Kistle recalled waiting there for a bus bound for Oakland after he was drafted, and bowling in the Gold Bowl.

On Monday, a four-person crew reduced the building to mere piles of concrete, wood, and metal.

The concrete and wood will be recycled, said Greg Rogers, a manager with M.P. Allen General Contractors.

Hazardous materials, including flooring containing asbestos, was taken out before the demolition. Water is being applied to keep the dust down and the air quality is being monitored and tested daily, Rogers said.

The demolition is expected to take three to four weeks, Rogers said.

The Cramer building, GRA-NEVA appliance store, the Gold Bowl, and the City Center Playhouse are being taken down to make way for a Holiday Inn Express and conference center.

The 80-room, three-story hotel was approved in August 2003. It is part of the city’s larger effort to revitalize the downtown block between South Auburn Street and the freeway.

The hotel is expected to be completed by early fall 2005.

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