Ford, city tackling blight

FAIRMONT – Fairmont Ford got some assistance Monday from the city to improve its neighborhood and the business.

The locally owned car dealership bought an adjoining piece of property earlier this year and has since been working to clean up the area and repair buildings. The building formerly occupied by Denny’s General Wholesale was purchased, along with a former nursing home on the back half of the lot, at 233 S. Dewey St.

Owner Dave Kloeckner previously informed the Sentinel that Fairmont Ford will use the former Denny’s building mostly for storage, with the potential for expansion in the future. The nursing home, however, needs to go, based on the information presented at Monday’s council meeting.

“The vacant building and property have been an eyesore to the neighborhood for over 20 years. After our many hours of cleaning up the property, many positive comments have been made by the neighbors,” Kloeckner, company president, wrote in a letter to the council. “But there is still no use for the old building. By removing the building, the lot can be used for new construction of some kind in the future.”

The council agreed to contribute $10,650 to the demolition, which is about a third of the cost to raze the building. Funds will come from money set aside specifically for such projects. Of the $42,000 budgeted each year for blighted building demolition, $21,000 was available through the end of the year, prior to the council’s approval of the Fairmont Ford request.

“A vacant lot is a lot more valuable than a blighted, empty building,” said City Administrator Mike Humpal said.

Councilman Chad Askeland questioned how many businesses the city has similarly assisted and why, since a business that would ultimately profit from the arrangement.

According to Humpal, the logic is that the improvement will help the business grow and succeed, which will also have a positive impact on Fairmont’s tax base.

“It’s not unreasonable, not out of line,” said Councilman Terry Anderson, noting the end of the year is approaching and the city has done well managing the money for demolishing blighted buildings.

In other business Monday, the council:

o Proclaimed Nov. 8-9 “Poppy Days.” The local American Legion Post and women’s auxiliary will sell poppies made by disabled veterans to benefit veterans.

o Approved an application for a one-day temporary on-sale liquor license for the American Legion on Nov. 11 for a veterans dinner.

o Approved an application for a solicitor’s license submitted by American Exteriors, LLC. The company will conduct a door-to-door campaign selling windows and siding.

o Approved a parade permit for Fairmont Glows. The parade will begin 6 p.m. Nov. 22 at Ward Park and end at Lincoln Park.

o Approved an application for an on-sale 3.2 beer and wine license for Asian Palace, a new restaurant opening at 1153 S. State St.