[Audio] Pine City Agrees to Purchase Old Courthouse
The Pine City council met Saturday morning for a special meeting at city hall. The council discussed a handful of subjects with the focus centered on the city’s main facility needs. With a 4-1 vote, the council decided that it will purchase the old Pine County Courthouse from Pine County for $50,000. Councilman Paul Miller opposed.
Mayor Jane Robbins cautioned the council that purchasing the 30,000 square foot building in such trying economic times presents a series of challenges. Robbins said her concern is not the $50,000 up front but the costs needed for upkeep and repairs down the road, including a new roof and windows.
Councilman Brian Scholin says he believes the public perception is that not purchasing the courthouse means the city is giving up on the downtown.
Councilman Paul Janssen says even if the city can’t use the building right away, its value is too high not to purchase.
The council agreed to direct city staff to move forward with negotiating a purchasing agreement with the county that would potentially allow the city to pay the $50,000 price tag over the course of a few years. City Administrator Don Howard and city attorney Dan Blake will put together the purchasing agreement for the county’s review.
Pine County gave the city a January 31st deadline to make a decision on the courthouse.
Howard told the council demolishing the building would cost roughly $250,000. He also estimated $70,000 for asbestos removal and $48,000 a year to heat the building.
The Pine County board is scheduled to meet January 20th in Sandstone.