Gas station gets another reprieve
In other business
The Janesville City Council on Monday:
-- Delayed a decision to become a Green Tier Legacy Community and asked for more information from city staff about the contract the city would sign with the state. The program calls on the city to partner with the state Department of Natural Resources to reach sustainability goals.
JANESVILLE A historic gas station was granted another reprieve from the Janesville City Council on Tuesday after members delayed a decision on its fate for several months.
The council unanimously asked staff to return with suggestions and cost estimates for adaptive reuses of the building at 101 Franklin St.
The building is a prime example of the showcase gas stations that were built in the early 1900s, few of which remain today.
The city bought the property in 2007 to demolish it and hold the land until it was ready to expand the nearby police station.
But residents formed a group to protect the building. Now, the structure is in immediate need of a new roof and some repair to the masonry. Estimates begin at $35,000.
City Manager Eric Levitt suggested the council consider looking at adaptive uses, even if those are 10 years in the future but with that goal always in mind.
Leisure services could move into the more visible location, leaving space in City Hall for needed storage, or it could become part of the actual expansion of the police department.
Levitt said it is difficult to get grants with no adaptive reuse planned for a structure.
Council members remain concerned about the ultimate cost, and member DuWayne Severson noted that costs could grow to $300,000 by the time the building is renovated.
He said he had a hard time supporting that sum in light of the community's current economic struggles.
"I think we could probably use that money better for job development,'' Severson said.
Councilman Matt Kealy said the council's two options were to tear the building down or fully embrace an adaptive use. Doing the latter would also prove to the downtown community that the city is serious about preservation, Kealy said.
Councilman Jim Farrell hoped the city could find an adaptive use but does not want it to sit four more years in limbo.
"It kind of frustrates me (that nobody has) come forward with some viable solution," Farrell said.
Police Chief David Moore said the building's location complicates expansion of the police department and would likely force it to expand up, increasing the cost.
But moving the building would destroy some of its historic value, staff said.
Severson said he was uncomfortable getting two opinions from staff, and asked the administration to come back with one opinion.
Levitt said providing a variety of opinions to council members is part of his management style. He agreed that Moore does not see how the city could adaptively reuse the building in expansion plans for the station, but that Levitt does.
Severson made a motion to tear the building down, but got no seconds.
Councilman Russ Steeber offered a motion that the administration return with more information on ways to reuse the building.