Burnham Mansion again slated for demolition after UI alum misses deadline

Burnham Mansion again slated for demolition after UI alum misses deadline

CHAMPAIGN — Another missed deadline Monday effectively brings to a close the months-long struggle to spare Champaign's 134-year-old Burnham Mansion from demolition.

The 10,000-square-foot house standing in the path of Central High School's expansion will be torn down after items that can be salvaged are removed, according to school board President Chris Kloeppel.

University of Illinois architecture graduate Chris Enck faced a deadline of 5 p.m. Monday to show school officials proof that he'd bought a relocation site for the mansion, and the deadline passed, Kloeppel said.

Enck couldn't be reached Monday, but said late last week that he still hoped to find a solution to the financing snag he hit.

Enck planned to move the mansion a block away, to 501 W. Church St., and use it for part of an apartment development project.

The Monday deadline was included in an extension the school board granted Enck. Originally, he was to have the mansion moved by July 15, but the board wound up giving Enck nearly another month — until Aug. 10 — provided he produce a bill of sale for the relocation site by Monday.

Kloeppel said the school district's agreement with Enck was terminated after the Monday deadline passed, and on Tuesday, the district will set in motion plans for the salvage operation.

There isn't a firm date yet for the demolition of the mansion, but a Peoria salvage organization will have 30 days to remove items from the property, Kloeppel said.

Yu (Ian) Wang, curator at the University of Illinois' Spurlock Museum, said he spoke with Enck over the weekend about his own idea for relocating and reusing the mansion as a museum/cultural center in Rantoul.

He said Enck told him that's "not his plan," Wang said, though he also said he'd check into whether such a move was possible.

Enck said recently that he planned to move not just the historic Burnham Mansion but two other structures in the way of the Central's expansion — the Capt. Edward Bailey house at 606 W. Church St. and the carriage house at that address. His plans called for using all three structures for 30 new apartments, he said.

A preliminary site also showed a fourth building on the 501 W. Church St. site, the garage building currently on the Burnham grounds.

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