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Officials narrow choices to replace 1894 Town Hall PDF Print E-mail
Community
Written by MICHAEL LoCICERO   
Wednesday, 07 May 2014 17:47

Supervisor says donors have offered $100,000 toward building purchase

Town of Belgium officials appear to have narrowed their search for a new town hall to three possibilities: new construction, St. Mary’s Lake Church parish center or the former BMO Harris Bank building connected to Belgium Family Dental.

Supr. Jim Blick told the Town Board he has had informal meetings with anonymous donors who may be willing to donate as much as $100,000 toward the purchase of a new municipal building.

“We want to make sure we have everything out in the open and have the taxpayers help decide what to do,” Blick, who has spearheaded the discussion on a new hall, said.

To build a new hall the town needs vacant land, Blick said he looked into the former Gustafson

Construction Corp. building and property, 178 Royal Ave., but the asking price was too high.

Blick said the owners of the land want to sell the 16-acre parcel for about $780,000.

“We asked if we could split up the land and just buy a small piece of it, but they said that would be too difficult to do,” he said.

Blick said there were no other immediate options available for purchasing land.

The second option would be to purchase the parish center, which Blick said was offered to the town for $80,000 “as is.”

Officials said last month they would consider the center, but substantial improvements would have to be made.

The final option is the former BMO Harris Bank location, 171 Main St.

Blick said last month he received an informal offer from Belgium Family Dental to purchase the other half of the building for $200,000.

“This would basically be a turn key operation that could last us for another 100 years,” he said. “I think that’s the best value we’ll come up with.”

The town is basically a phone call away from having to find a new location quickly, Town Chairman Tom Winker said.

“The current space we’re in is not handicap accessible, so we aren’t able to service all of our constituents right now,” he said.

Blick said the town may be eligible for state aid to help reduce the cost of purchasing a new municipal building.

The state Board of Commissioners of Public Lands loans money to municipalities and school districts for “public purpose projects,” he said.

Blick said if donations reach $100,000, the town could apply for a loan and pay back the remaining $100,000 to purchase the bank building in five years.

“With this program, when the debt is paid back, all the interest we pay to the state is basically paid back to the taxpayers,” Blick said.

Winker said he would appreciate any outside assistance to help defray the cost of purchasing a building for the new hall.

“If anybody in the town wants to throw into the pool, that would be a wonderful thing,” Winker said.

Although a purchase is not imminent and a public hearing would have to be held to discuss the options approve the purchase, this is the closest officials have come to replace the current hall, which was built in 1894.


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