The Gillespie City Council accepted the United Community Bank’s offer to donate the old bank building to the city during a special city council meeting last week on December 3. The council accepted ordinance #2014-19 with 6-1 vote to acquire the old bank building that rests at 121 South Macoupin.
City treasurer Dan Fisher said the city is currently working on plans to configure how the city will use the building, but he assured everyone in the council chambers that nothing has been decided. “It’s an opportunity that we should take advantage of,” Fisher told the council. “There are grants on the table now I’m confident we can get and there are more on the menu we can try to acquire given the time and finalizing our plan.”
He explained the city can use the building as a cornerstone for future development and the building has already been inspected by an architect who believes the building is in “sufficient condition and can certainly be renovated”.
There’s a lot of things we can do with that building and we are in the position that we can take our time
Fisher answered Ottersburg by saying the city owns the parking lot next to the Canna Theatre and there is sufficient on-street parking for the volume that city hall has. “If we move administrative services to that building, we even have the ability to pay bills through the bank teller window.”
“Right now, we don’t know what we are doing with the building. We just have to figure out the best way to make use of that building while the opportunity to acquire it is there,” Fisher explained. “Until we figure out where things fit in the grand scheme of things, we are in the position that we can take our time.”
Lastly, Fisher reminded the council not to forget that the council had plans to develop a coal mining museum. “There’s a lot of things we can do with that building. The bank certainly had more walk-in traffic when they were in business than we do at city hall. Walk-in traffic is something we can overcome.”
He also closed the explanation by saying the only restriction the city has for the building is they can’t sell it to a financial institution.
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