HOISINGTON — Monday night, the Hoisington City Council met and considered a proposal from Steve Hopkins of the Living Joy Church regarding The Office and Subway buildings on Main Street. The church has been looking for a new location that offers better accessibility for members of the congregation that find navigating steps difficult. Hopkins and Mitchell walked through the building several times since the Nov. 27 meeting, bringing in members of the congregation and various contractors. They believe they can renovate the first floor of The Office into a church, and would like to rent the Subway building for approximately seven months as a temporary site while they work on it. Previously, the city has offered to redo the facade of the building as a lure for potential buyers, but Hopkins has asked that instead, the city help by fixing the portion of the roof on The Office building that has been leaking for the past few years. When the Subway building’s roof was being replaced a few years ago, the city received an estimate of about $10,500 to make the needed repairs, but the city council decided against incurring the expense. Since then, the contract with the party hoping of purchase the building at the time fell through, and there have been no takers since then.
Mitchell said that initial inquiries indicate the cost of the repairs at this time could cost between $15,000 and $20,000 to complete.
Councilman Michael Aylward asked if the city can afford to put that much into a building they will just give away.
“That’s up to the council,” Mitchell responded. He countered, questioning if the city could afford not to spend the money.
“Here’s why I say that. The Office, the Subway building, and the beauty shop years ago must have been under the same ownership. The upstairs used to be an old dance hall or opera house, and there’s no firewall between them. If this building continues to deteriorate, it could cause the Subway building and other adjacent structures to crumble as well. So its up to you guys how you want to handle that.”
Travis asked what the estimated cost of demolition was.
“Unfortunately, I don’t know that we can demolish,” Mitchell said. The demolition of one building would likely require the demolition of the other buildings.
“So putting the roof on is going to be cheaper than demo-ing three to four buildings,” Travis concluded.
“I believe so,”Mitchell answered. He noted the city would have to consider the fact the buildings basements would be a factor, and referred the difficulties the city of Ellinwood encountered in 2015 when it attempted to demolish a building under similar circumstances.
Hopkins hopes to begin moving into the church into the Subway building as soon as possible, and is offering the city $300 a month rent. The council directed Mitchell to meet with Hopkins on terms of a lease for the Subway building and timeline for the project for The Office, and report on progress at the Dec. 26 meeting.
Mitchell then revisited the discussion of development at McKenna Meadows. At the Nov. 27 meeting, the council directed Mitchell to approach the owner of a lot adjacent to a portion of the development currently in the floodplain that the city was considering turning into a park.
Mitchell said after making one phone call, it was clear that property owner not interested in a park being put there.
Mitchell contacted the owner of land west of the proposed park, a Mr. Ball. Aware that the land will no longer be in the floodplain after Jan. 1, Ball indicated he is interested in selling the lots, but offered no guidance on what price he would accept. The council directed Mitchell to continue researching and provide guidance at a future meeting. Aylward also asked he determine if ball would be willing to sell the city only the northernmost section of the property, which would allow the city to build a through street along northern boundary of the development where now there is only a ditch. This would improve access for all property owners there, and make it more accessible to emergency vehicles.