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July 1, 2013

City to demolish 2 downtown buildings

(Continued)

By issuing the preferably preserved status, the Historical Commission put an 18-month hold on the demolition to give the city a chance to sell the building to another party so it could be moved to another location and preserved. Kezer said the city tried on several occasions, but nobody was interested.

“We made two attempts to sell off or give away the building, and we had no takers,” Kezer said. “And it’s not a building that can move, it’s made of brick and mortar and it’s a separate construction thrown together, so there’s no basement or foundation, it’s just kind of sitting there.”

After the city failed to sell off the Annex, some delays came up with the fire station project itself, and the 18-month demolition delay ultimately wound up expiring. With the delay order lifted, the city is now free and clear to proceed as planned.

As for the 5 School St. building, Kezer said the city will seek a buyer to move the building in a similar fashion when it submits its demolition permit application.

“We will look to do the same thing we did with the Annex, which is advertise to see if anybody wants to take the building and haul it away in order to save it,” Kezer said.

Besides clearing the way for the fire station project, tearing down the Annex building and 5 School St. will also create room for additional parking spaces. More parking would pay extra dividends for the library, which could become eligible for new grant funds if more parking becomes available.

“By removing that and by removing 5 School St., it also meets my objective to create as much parking around the library as possible,” he said.

Kezer said he wasn’t sure if the extra parking made available by removing the Annex and 5 School St. buildings would be enough to make the library eligible for such grants, but it would be a big step in the right direction, he said.

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