Archive for Wednesday, December 20, 2000

City exploring option of building purchase

December 20, 2000

The city of Tonganoxie is exploring the possibility of purchasing the former Community National Bank building at Fourth and Delaware streets.

"I have had some discussion with the people at the bank," said Chris Clark, city administrator.

But those discussions, Clark said, are preliminary.

"The one thing that the facility would do for us is it would give us a presence on Fourth Street," he said.

In addition, it would provide room for city offices in the future. At city hall, working conditions are crowded.

As the city grows, it's likely additional city staff would be necessary. But there's no room at city hall.

"Any person we would hire would have to go into council chambers," Clark said.

The city wouldn't require the entire 6,000 square feet of space in the former bank building. If it were to acquire the building, the city would use some space now and retain tenants in other portions of the 28-year-old building. Council chambers could continue as a meeting site for various city groups, including the city council and planning commission, and city hall could be leased to a nonprofit group, Clark said.

For now, Clark is only exploring options with Bill Altman, Community National Bank branch president.

"The last conversation I had with him, I asked him to present something that the city could react to," Clark said.

Altman stressed on Tuesday that no deal has been struck. And, like Clark, said the bank and the city are merely exploring options.

"I have contacted Chris about the possibility of the city's interest in our bank building," Altman said.

"It seems a natural because it's right across the street from city hall and other city offices. We are interested in the continued viability of downtown. The city could own it with very little cash outlay, if any, on an ongoing basis. And it would allow the city, in my opinion, growth opportunities, which are definitely needed."

Altman, who would not disclose the listing price of the property, said the bank purchased the building in May 1998 and occupied part of it until February 1999, when the bank moved to its building at Main Street and U.S. Highway 24-40.

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