By: Diane Benjamin
Interfering in the private sector is what local government does best. Evidently Jenn thinks she can save the State Farm building:
Meanwhile other buildings in downtown have been sitting empty for years. The CII East building is an eyesore Jenn evidently isn’t working on. The Front and Center building is boarded up. People’s Bank is just taking up space, so is the former Club. Obviously there is no private sector need for any of these buildings. The Coliseum and BCPA have done nothing to revitalize downtown, the total already spent by government (including interest) has to be close to if not over $100,000,000.
Tari Renner thinks there is a government use for part of the State Farm building, listen to his interview on WGLT – around 13:00 https://www.wglt.org/post/renner-city-working-find-alternatives-state-farm-building-demolition
Tari talked about how bad City Hall is – especially his office with 27 year old carpet. He also mentioned he didn’t want to spend money replacing it. It sounds like he wants to replace the whole building instead. Tari never says specifically what he is thinking.
The Council has a conflict of interest problem. Both Jeff Crabill and Kim Bray are State Farm lawyers. Ethically they can not participate in any discussions or vote on any issues concerning the building.
That leaves 7 people who may or may not be making a decision on the future of the building.
State Farm has stated the building is expensive to maintain, It is way to big for only City use. We don’t know if three floors were actually pre-rented as the former agent told me: https://blnnews.com/2019/05/22/state-farm-bldg-3-floors-leased/
I have been told by people intimately familiar with the building that it has foundation issues that would be very costly to fix, That issue needs thoroughly investigated before anybody jumps to save it.
Governing by “feelings” could create yet another huge burden on taxpayers. Wanting to save the building isn’t worth impoverishing the City.
One note: The design of the current City Hall proves making bad decisions is what government does best. Building trendy buildings to look cool means decades later the building is going to look really stupid. Every new building should be in a classic style that can stand the test of time, unless the real purpose is constantly rebuilding so supporters have jobs.
Could the library and City Hall move into the State Farm building? Sure, at considerable expense. Of course that leaves their current buildings empty creating even more expense.
Tari thinks downtown would lose it’s skyline if the State Farm building is demolished. The new addition to the jail is blocking it anyway Tari.