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City Council extends deadline for plans to repair building

The downtown Willmar building on the corner of Benson Avenue and Third Street Southwest is where the now closed John's Supper Club was located. The city of Willmar has extended a deadline for the owner to have plans prepared to repair the fire-damaged building. (Tribune photo by Ron Adams)

WILLMAR -- The Willmar City Council has extended the deadline for the owner of the downtown John's Supper Club to have plans prepared for repairing the fire-damaged building. The previous council deadline ended Monday.

The council approved a motion by Steve Ahmann to extend the deadline by 45 days for Paul Kidrowski to complete architectural and structural drawings and to obtain building permits.

Ahmann and three other council members had been told at the council's Community Development Committee meeting on Nov. 12 that no plans had been submitted for city staff review and that the deadline set by the council on Oct. 5 was nearing.

But Bruce Peterson, director of planning and development services, told the council Monday night that the situation had evolved since he spoke to the committee. Peterson said he talked with a local architect whose firm has been engaged to provide some project services.

He said computerized floor plans have been submitted for initial review, and Peterson said he was also told that a mechanical engineer and a structural engineer have been engaged to provide services.

"We are cautiously optimistic that the project is proceeding,'' Peterson said. He also said the architect indicated that a potential tenant is interested in leasing the entire lower level and the six upper level apartments after repairs are completed.

"It looks like the message the council delivered to the owner was received and there is some progress being made,'' Peterson said.

Ahmann said it takes a little time for engineers to get to the project.

"I am just really thrilled that Mr. Kidrowski has made the efforts he has and that building's going to be restored because it is of historical significance to the downtown. Be patient as long as he's making progress,'' said Ahmann.

During discussion, Doug Reese asked if the council should set another deadline.

"If the City Council is satisfied that the owner's on the right track, that a second deadline would not be unreasonable,'' said Peterson. "I think in these situations it's a good idea to kind of hold their feet to the fire.''

"Exactly my feeling,'' said Reese.

"I'm pleased with the response we've gotten,'' said Peterson. He said the additional days would allow not only time for Kidrowski to complete the plans but for staff to review the plans and have permits prepared for issuance.

The building at the corner of Third Street and Benson Avenue Southwest dates back to the late 1880s and was used for a variety of purposes including a long-time restaurant on the main floor. Fire damaged the building on May 15, 1991.

David Little
David Little covers the Willmar City Council, Willmar Municipal Utilities and other city news.
(320) 235-1150