Members of McMinnville’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen explored an abandoned building on Monday – the former City Hall.
An onsite tour of the Blue Building was an eye-opener for board members.
Taking a look on Monday were Vice Mayor Everett Brock and Aldermen Steve Harvey, Stacey Harvey and Sally Brock, along with city administrator Nolan Ming.
“It’s a pity and a shame the Blue Building is in the shape it’s in,” said Sally. “However, we are committed to getting something done about the situation.”
The building has been vacant for more than 11 years. McMinnville Police Department relocated from the building in November 2009. Since that time, numerous discussions have been held on what to do with the building – renovation, demolition, liquidation, etc.
Touring the building Monday required signing a waiver releasing city government from any injury which might be sustained. The city’s insurance carrier decided several years back it would no longer provide coverage on the Blue Building because of its condition.
Some say the world is full of weird and wonderful abandoned places, but the Blue Building might not be one of them. Discovered were crumbling walls, windows and walls held in place with 2x4s, mold, creaking and sinking floors, unstable stairways, disintegrating concrete, wet carpet, graffiti, and dead animals.
Vice Mayor Brock says the tour brought the building’s condition into focus, so maybe a decision can at last be made on its fate.
“It doesn’t look good,” said Everett. “Seriously, right now we don’t know what we have. I personally don’t see a rehab, unless someone has deep pockets. What we have is an asset, but we need a viable vision. That’s the way we need to take a look at it, an asset, not a liability.”
A new appraisal is being sought. A prior appraisal conducted in 2008 placed minimal value on the building and indicated it would cost roughly $500,000 for demolition. That was before the gym and auditorium were leveled in 2013 at a cost of $238,000.