Atwater City Council approves the sale of the former library building to resident
ATWATER -- A city-owned building that had housed the Atwater library and senior dining center was sold Wednesday for $10,500. The Atwater City Council had three bids for the building on Atlantic Avenue, which was vacated by the city earlier this ...
ATWATER -- A city-owned building that had housed the Atwater library and senior dining center was sold Wednesday for $10,500.
The Atwater City Council had three bids for the building on Atlantic Avenue, which was vacated by the city earlier this year because of structural problems. A tarp currently covers the upper half of the building to prevent falling bricks from hurting anyone.
Sue Meyerson, who owns two old brick buildings on the same block, including the historic Hotel Atwater and the former American Legion building, was the high bidder.
She will be required to submit a $25,000 performance bond to ensure that necessary safety repairs are completed within one year.
In a brief interview, Meyerson said she intends to start on repairs as soon as possible.
Owning three buildings on the block makes it possible for a larger redevelopment project to be undertaken. She also has a lease on the Laidlaw building, which is around the corner from the Hotel Atwater.
Meyerson said she has an "informal plan" for a project, but said the city needs to establish a tax increment financing district to help make that happen.
Such a district allows cities to capture new taxes generated from business improvements and, in turn, use that money to help the businesses expand.
The city has made several attempts to secure grants to help Meyerson refurbish the Hotel Atwater, but without success. The hotel and American Legion buildings have been empty since Meyerson purchased them.
After the meeting, Mayor Bruce Baker said it would be good if Meyerson can find grant money for the project, but said a tax increment financing district would be difficult to establish on Atlantic Avenue because there are so few businesses there. He said the only way a tax increment financing district would work is if the whole Atwater business area was included, and he said the chances of that happening are "slim."
Baker said it would be good if Meyerson could fix the buildings and get new businesses to town, but to have them remain empty "does nothing for the business district."
The council received a bid of $2,503 from Dave Svor who said he and his wife wanted to put a small business in the building. Svor was not aware, however, of the performance bond and required repairs. The other bid was from Ricky Rigstad for $3,500, who estimated the necessary safety repairs at $31,500.
The council also opened a bid to demolish the building at a cost to the city of $35,000, plus additional costs for gravel to fill in the hole. The city had requested a demolition bid in case there were no offers to buy the building.
Councilmen Dale Tagtow, James Olson and Scott Bjornson voted in favor of selling the building to Meyerson.
In other news, the council discussed whether Baker violated any city ordinance when he installed water and sewer lines last month at a residence in the Tall Pines II addition, which is a development he owns. Council members have received complaints and Police Chief Reed Schmidt was asked to investigate the situation.
Baker has permits issued in 2001 from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency to provide water and sewer to the development. He said there was nothing wrong with his latest utility extension. However, baker had not informed the Council or sought approval for doing the work.
Clerk Goldie Smith told Baker that typically the city's public works employees oversee and inspect projects that involve extending the city's water and sewer mains. Baker said the inspections are not required under the city ordinance.
After a bit of haggling, the council agreed the situation was a case of lack of communication.
In other action the council:
- Was informed that a plan to remove contaminated soil generated from old underground petroleum tanks at the Laidlaw building will be completed by the end of November.
- Tabled action on selling a 2001 squad car. The council had three bids for the vehicle, ranging from $1,026 to $2,025. The council will talk to a police department in another town that might be interested.
- Was informed that the number of students participating in the Atwater Community Recreation programs has increased 62 percent since 2004.