A reprieve for the Drives Building? Fulton Historical Society, city could make a deal

November 15, 2018

FULTON – A month after the Fulton City Council voted to approve the demolition of the Drives Building, the Fulton Historical Society has offered to buy it – for $2.

The Fulton City Council voted 5-3 in October to approve the demolition of the Drives Building by the end of 2018. The council also voted 5-3 to advertise for bids for asbestos abatement and to demolish and remove materials.

“I was visited this week by Barb (Mask) and Neal (Luker) and they expressed an interest in having the Drives Building used by the Fulton Historical Society,” Fulton City Administrator Randy Boonstra said. “We had mentioned before that we were willing to sell the building for $2 and they were interested in that.”

Boonstra said the city, in order to proceed with considering the request, must first approve an ordinance asking for bids to be placed. The city is required to publish the bid notices 3 weeks in a row, 1 week apart. The second ordinance, to approve the sale, cannot be considered by the council any sooner than 30 days after the first bid notice appears in the paper.

The 105-year-old former factory at 1009 First St. has been at the center of an ongoing disagreement between the City Council and an exploratory committee over what to to do with it.

The building dates back to 1913, when it served as an office for Fidelity Life Insurance. Drives, a chain manufacturing company for agriculture and industry, bought the building in 1974, eventually giving it to the city in 2010, the year before the company was bought by Timken Co.

Luker, representing the Fulton Historical Society, said buying the building would be a win-win situation: The city would not have to pay to demolish it, and a great asset would be preserved.

“We feel certainly we can make this go,” Luker said. “If we didn’t we wouldn’t be attempting it. But you know we have already secured $200,000 in pledges. We would apply for a grant from Timken, because we’re a 501c3, we could apply for a grant. We have somebody promised in their will to leave money to maintain the building for long after all of us are gone. You can’t beat that. That’s a wonderful thing that somebody has come forward and said we’ll leave money for the building.”

A special meeting to vote on the initial ordinance for the sale will be at 5:30 p.m. Thursday


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