City Council to consider sale of Community Center

May 17, 2013 02:25 PM
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City Council will consider the sale of the Community Center, 150 E. Simmons Street, at its May 20 meeting. Earlier this year, local developer's Mark and Jeannette Kleine (M.A.K. Properties of Illinois, L.L.C.) presented a proposal to city staff for the purchase and redevelopment of the Community Center, also known as the former Central Fire Station. The proposal includes plans to update the buildings equipment and outdated systems in preparation for yet another new business in our downtown community.   Kleine, in collaboration with a group of local entrepreneurs plans an opening in late summer.  Details outlining these plans will be announced in early June but include the creation of eight full time and eight part time jobs with an investment estimated to reach almost $1 Million. 

MAK Properties, no stranger to historic building re-use, has invested and renovated multiple downtown properties over the last two years.  Kleine explains "The reason we've invested in these properties is to encourage economic growth and new business in the downtown community.  When approached by this group of young, professional, and local individuals we wanted to be a part of the process.  It’s exactly the reason we’re doing what we’re doing. We've become experienced in the building acquisition process and have proven that we’re doing it for the right reasons, to help improve Galesburg."

The former Central Fire Station is one of 23 buildings with a Local Historic Landmark designation. The over 100-year-old structure was built on land purchased by the city after issuance of bonds in 1905. The structure was last used as a fire station in 1976 when it was moved to the current Public Safety Building which houses Central Fire Station, Galesburg Police Department and central dispatch. The structure then underwent an adaptive re-use as a community center and was given the Local Historic Landmark designation. With that designation, the structure is protected from drastic changes that would affect the exterior historic or architectural character. Any improvements to a local landmark that is visible from a public way would require consideration from the Galesburg Landmark Commission as outlined in Galesburg’s Historic Preservation ordinance.

The selling price of $115,000 is above the appraised value of $67,500. In recent years, the community center has been underutilized. The sale of the building is expected to save the General Fund approximately $57,000 yearly in contractual expenses (e.g. utilities, maintenance of building/equipment and insurance), commodity costs (e.g. cleaning supplies and materials to maintain buildings/improvements) and building repair and maintenance fund transfers.  In addition to sales tax derived from this investment, the building will be added to the property tax rolls for the first time in its existence.

Other locations will be offered to those with events already scheduled. Meeting space alternatives currently exist in the community and the city will carry out an analysis of need for additional community space. Those looking for alternative locations for an event may contact city hall for suggestions.

 

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