Atwater continues to research renovation of Hotel Atwater
ATWATER -- Atwater residents are still mulling whether the city should renovate the historic Hotel Atwater and turn it into a city office, or walk away and keep city services where they're at.
The city's Economic Development Authority is looking for volunteer committee members to research those options so that an informed decision can be made.
A community meeting on the issue Tuesday drew about 20 people and generated a lot of questions about the financial feasibility of restoring the once-grand hotel. The number of people at the meeting was a bit disappointing, said Councilman Mark Olson, who is also chair of the town's Economic Development Authority. He said there wasn't necessarily positive or negative comments made about the potential project, but many questions were asked.
Because of the current economy, there's "concern in Atwater on whether we should do it or not," he said. While there would be costs to renovate the structure, there are also costs associated with renting space for the library and maintaining the existing city and police office, which is located in a drafty old train depot.
Olson said there is a great deal of misinformation about the Hotel Atwater and potential expenses to restore it. That's another task the committee will be asked to explore. The committee will "crunch some numbers," he said.
The city received a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society to offset renovations costs. The city intends to apply for another in July, said Olson.
The hotel issue will be discussed again at another community meeting set for 7 p.m. June 23, as well as discussion on what residents want Atwater to look like in the future.
Mayor Bruce Baker said he's given the committee until Dec. 31 to complete its research and make a recommendation to the City Council.