The New Era - All about Sweet Home since 1929

City signs papers to buy former USFS building


August 2, 2016

MAYOR JIM GOURLEY signs papers to finalize the purchase of the former Sweet Home Ranger District office. From left are Keller Williams realtor Bill MacHugh, Gourley and Interim City Manager Christy Wurster.

Mayor Jim Gourley and interim City Manager Christy Wurster signed papers on July 26 to purchase the former Sweet Home Ranger District Office.

The building, located at 3225 Main St., contains 12,700 square feet of space. The City Council agreed to buy the building for $750,000. It previously paid $25,000 in earnest money. It will pay the remainder from its 2016-17 budget, part of an ongoing building reserve fund that holds about $1 million in savings. Funds were wired on July 27.

The city has regularly set aside money for a new City Hall and other building purchases. The city used the fund to help pay for the construction of the Police Department headquarters and to purchase the Public Works Maintenance facility off 24th Avenue.

The building, which has been partially gutted, will require some remodeling to get it ready for use as a new City Hall.

Informal estimates from two contractors put the minimum cost at $240,000 to $324,000 to make the building useful again.

A rot and pest report issued two weeks ago noted minor issues, including a problem with the building’s vapor barrier and clogged gutters. An appraiser placed the value of the building at $780,000. After remodeling and repairs, the appraiser said it could be worth $1.34 million.

City officials say that the current City Hall, 1140 12th Ave., with about 9,000 square feet, has a number of problems, ranging from rot in the walls and mold due to improper sealing when windows were replaced in the 1970s. The basement and roof both have leaks. Concrete blocks have softened.

City Hall opened in 1954 at its current location.

The new building was constructed in 1989 for the Sweet Home Ranger District, which leased it until several years ago.

Moving forward, city staff have scheduled an architect to meet with the council, said Finance Director Pat Gray. The architect will offer different services the council may want to use.

“A lot of it, we can probably do in-house ourselves,” Gray said. Based on council direction, staff members are looking at how they might use the building based on an open concept, which is how the building is designed.


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