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"We're glad to see it go." After two years, Willcox says goodbye to Desert Inn Motel mess

Rikki Mitchell

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Photo: Video by kgun9.com

"We're glad to see it go." After two years, Willcox says goodbye to Desert Inn Motel mess

By Rikki Mitchell. CREATED Dec 20, 2013

WILLCOX, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - It's been a long road for the Desert Inn Motel.

Once a quaint spot on the edge of town, but then a fire in March 2012 turned it into a charred, crumbling mess.

And it sat that way for almost two years.

"That's the first thing people would see as they drive into town, it's like 'oh my gosh,'" said Alan Baker, executive director for the Willcox Chamber of Commerce.

Baker said it took time to raise the $91,000 needed to tear this place down. But there were also some environmental issues.

"There was some concern whether or not the building had asbestos in it," said Baker. "So we had to have some testing done."

The state did find asbestos, but not in levels above the legal limit. Willcox Cares, a subcommittee of the chamber of commerce is handling the cleanup and on Friday, the tractors went out to pick up the last bits of the Desert Inn Motel.

Michael Kauffman with Willcox Cares said they plan to put some kind of park in its place, with a directory showing everything Willcox has to offer.

Cindy Bartlein couldn't be happier that this chapter is ending.

"We're really glad to see it go," she said.

Bartlein lives and works at Sagebrush RV Park, directly behind the motel. She's been waiting a long time for this day.

"I sat out there while it burned and I sat out there while they cleaned it up. We were outside watching it every day, " she said. "It was just an eyesore and we're just ready for it to go."

 

Rikki Mitchell

Rikki Mitchell

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Rikki Mitchell is a proud University of Arizona grad and joined the KGUN9 team after graduation. Rikki reports as a video journalist for the evening and weekend newscasts.