Janesville34.8°

Trueblood has high hopes for a once-grand hotel

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Ann Fiore
November 1, 2007
— Preserving the Monterey Hotel is Steve Trueblood’s mission.

Trueblood, an ordained minister and former political candidate, said he was the last tenant of the hotel’s corner office in 1984. He has researched the Monterey for 15 years and believes it needs to be redeveloped sooner rather than later.


In an e-mail to The Janesville Gazette, he called the current owner, Jim Grafft, an “obstructionist” who is fighting with the city as the building deteriorates. He said he has no personal grudge against Grafft.


Trueblood wants the city to redevelop the hotel.


“It’s not a cell tower,” Trueblood said, referring to the antennas on the roof. “It’s a historic hotel that needs to be restored.”


Trueblood staged a protest at the hotel Friday and might make the protests a weekly effort.


He’s also circulating an online petition. In it, he urges the city council and city manager to take the hotel through eminent domain and find a developer who will “restore the hotel to its original splendor and purpose.”


Trueblood’s petition also calls on the council and city manager to “support, promote and to completely implement” his redevelopment plan.


The plan would:


- Turn the Monterey into a bed-and-breakfast hotel.


- Raze buildings between the Monterey and the Fusion 5 restaurant for patio seating and a new hotel entrance and drive through.


- Create a first-floor restaurant called the Kennedy Restaurant, in honor of the former president and his wife, who stayed at the Monterey.


- Renovate nearby Crazy Joe’s Best Deal Furniture, 314 W. Milwaukee St., into a boutique convention center.


- Make the Jeffris Flats behind the Monterey into extended-stay apartments.


- Raze homes on Dodge, Court and Academy streets for parking.


- Build a barrier wall, with garden areas and engraved bricks, to separate the parking area from Court Street homes.


- Turn the parking lot on High and Wall streets into a multilevel parking garage with boutique retail spaces.


At last count Wednesday, the petition had nine signatures, including Trueblood’s.


To see the petition, visit www.gopetition.com/online/14949/signatures.html.



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