Council to discuss Pamida, Goncho

By David Hotle, The JOURNAL


Two redevelopment projects in the community will be the top focus during the regular Washington City Council meeting that will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Washington Public Library.

Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson said that the council will discuss a project to redevelop the former Pamida building. The building has been vacant since 2009, when Pamida closed after 35 years in the location. It has been vacant since because Pamida had a lease that had not expired and the owner was being paid for the lease during the time it was vacant. Hinson said if the building was filled with something during that time, the owner would have lost money. Hinson said the new owners, Cornerstone Property management, are redoing the building for commercial purposes. The city is involved because Cornerstone hopes to partner with the city to install a sewer system onto the building.

?That building doesn?t have sewer,? Hinson said. ?It is one of the original things out there on East Washington and it is on septic, which is way beyond compliant. The sewer is on the north side of Highway 92 so it is prohibitively expensive to bore a sewer under the highway.?

He said the current plan is to bring a sewer line in from the back of the building, through farm fields, which is not far from the southeast interceptor. Hinson also said the project would align the sewer so it could also be used for future construction. He also said Cornerstone owns an excavating company. If the council approves, the city will purchase the materials for the sewer and Cornerstone will install it. Projected cost to the city will be about $50,000.

Hinson said Cornerstone got approval from Washington County Public Health for the project contingent on getting a sewer hookup within a year.

The project, Hinson said, will include the addition of a car dealership on the property. Hinson said the whole building is being redeveloped but he doesn?t know if any other business will be included.

Business related to the former Pamida building includes a right of way services agreement; a DNR construction permit application; and setting a public hearing on the development agreement.

The other redevelopment project will be for the former Goncho Apartment building. The council will discuss the TIF Urban Renewal Plan for the project during the meeting and vote on whether to adopt the development agreement for the project.

Owners Andy Drahota and Dave Waite were recently awarded a demolition permit from the city to make way for the redevelopment project. Hinson said the plan is to construct six 2-story town house units with about 1,600 square feet each and garages.

Goncho has been unoccupied since the building was ruled unsafe and the tenants were required to move out in January 2013. A meth lab had been discovered in one of the rooms. The building had also been inspected and a list of safety items had been given to the owner.