01/09/12 Last week Mayor Mark Senter told members of the Downtown Revitalization Committee that the City of Plymouth has purchase the Bauer Building on East Garro Street. Years ago know as the Gem Theater, at one time home to O & H Jewelry and Allen Reese Hearing Aids, the property later housed Chris Irwin’s Insurance Company.
Mayor Senter said Irwin’s estate wanted to sell the building and the city was interested so they began some sensitive negotiations.
City Attorney Nelson Chipman said two appraisals were obtained and the average of the two was $53,800. There was $60,000 for real estate acquisition in the 2011 budget that was used for the December 15th closing.
When asked why the purchase wasn’t discussed in a public meeting Chipman commented, “The Council approved the budget, which included an amount for land acquisition. That is the Council’s role. The executive branch carries out the task.” He continued, “It was not publically discussed because there were some sensitive aspects with the negotiations.” The City Attorney closed by saying, “It does not have to be publically discussed.”
During a phone call last Friday, City Councilman Wayne Smith said he didn’t know anything about the purchase of the Bauer Building.
When asked if he was aware of the purchase, former councilman Don Gardner said, “I did not.” He then asked what the intensions were for the building and said, “I would have thought I would have heard something if the city had been buying that.”
Councilman Mike Delp said he seemed to remember some amount of money in the budget for land acquisition. He then said, “I would have thought it would have been property in the new park area.” Delp continued by stating, “Bottom line is I think the Bauer property is a good deal and will be a good asset for the City.”
Members of the Downtown Revitalization Committee had mixed emotions on the purchase since Mayor Senter had said, “We are going to tear it down and make an improvement to the parking lot.”
Dave Morrow asked about redevelopment opportunities and said, “Studies show businesses like to locate close to a park. People are starting to move downtown.” He then suggested the property might be a good place for apartments or condos and noted that the Cook/Dimmet property would be the same.
Revitalization member Mark Gidley noted, “This group was created for the revitalization of downtown.”
Another member, Dan Tyree asked that the parking lot and sidewalks tie into the décor of the new park.
Brent Martin, another board member said he would like the city to consult with The Troyer Group on what the final product should look like.