Public to get chance to look at building - The Daily Gate City, Keokuk, Iowa: News

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Posted: Friday, October 5, 2012 12:00 pm | Updated: 2:39 pm, Fri Oct 5, 2012.

MONTROSE – Montrose residents will have the final say during two upcoming public hearings as to whether the city should purchase a former workshop that sits on city property.

The meetings will be held at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday at the old Park Ridge Workshop at 220 S. Seventh St., Montrose. The facility will open to the public at 6 p.m. both days so residents can take a look around before giving their input at the meetings.

“I want everyone in on this,” Mayor Bobby Reid told those in attendance at Thursday’s council meeting. “This isn’t our town – this is your town.”

Citizen Vic Riddle told Reid and the council that he plans to visit Park Ridge next week. He believes it’s the community’s responsibility to be involved in the purchasing decision.

“We’re the buyers,” Riddle said. “We have a right to look over what we’re buying.”

Park Ridge employed 300 to 400 people with special needs during its 47 years of operation. Owner Reuben Kristianson closed the non-profit organization in March 2011.

The original asking price for the facility was $585,000, but Kristianson and his Realtor, Sharon Scholl of Scholl Real Estate, have agreed to the city’s offer of $100,000 for the corner building. Scholl offered to give the other two buildings to the city at no cost.

Reid emphasized that the offer is contingent on citizens’ approval, insurance inspection and appraisal. He added that financing shouldn’t be an issue.

The three buildings have a total of 30,000 square feet. Amenities include office space, a kitchen, restrooms throughout, and an area suitable for warehousing, light manufacturing and/or storage.

All city offices, the police department and public works operations would relocate to the facility. Although new paint, carpet and other renovations are necessary, updates will be made as the city’s budget allows.

The city would offer the largest of the buildings for lease, Reid said. He assured the council and residents that the city won’t lease the space to any industries that generate unpleasant odors, wastewater or other pollution.

In other business, the council approved an offer from Tom and Cindy Crew for City Hall improvements.

The Crews live on the outskirts of Keokuk and visit Montrose frequently. Until recently, however, they weren’t sure where City Hall was located. The only signage on the building is difficult to see unless one is passing the entrance on Second Street.

The couple, who enjoys sign-making as a hobby, came up with two designs for a double-sided sign that would sit on a mounted bracket affixed to the front of the building. The sign can be taken down and re-installed if City Hall relocates. The Crews also want to repaint the baby blue wooden facade.

Both improvements were offered free of charge.

Another good Samaritan, Josh Newberry, wants to plant a tree in front of the Montrose Memorial Library – at no cost to the city – to replace the maple tree that was removed after suffering damage in a recent windstorm. Mary Sue Chatfield spoke to the council about the tree on behalf of Newberry, who was unable to attend the meeting.

Newberry, who’s in the landscaping business, suggested a smaller ornamental tree that would provide shade but cost the city less money when and if it needs to be taken down. Under a city ordinance, no further plantings will be allowed in the city right-of-way. The council discussed putting one or two trees on the other side of the sidewalk.

Chatfield said she’d let Newberry know that he needs to speak to the Beautification Committee about the planting(s).

Look for more information about Thursday’s council meeting next week in the Daily Gate City.

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