Save the Blue Building seemed to be the consensus among citizens who toured the building on Saturday.
The Blue Building was the first stop on a tour of city buildings sponsored by McMinnville city officials as an orientation for new members on the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. City leaders toured the facilities in order to prioritize which properties should be targeted for future capital expenditures.
Citizens were encouraged to take part in the tours and about 15 toured the Blue Building.
Martha Pierce said officials should renovate the oldest part of the building, which is the main structure, but she wasn’t sure about the rest of it.
“I think it might mean too much money being put in it,” said Pierce. “I don’t think it would be cost-effective to renovate the entire thing. I have a background in construction and I noticed things the average person might not have seen. For instance, some walls were added and joined to existing walls which can be a structural issue. Also, some rooms have windows propped up and we can see the bricks separating. That is also a structural issue.”
Pierce said she is not from McMinnville so the building does not bring a sense of nostalgic for her as it may be for other people.
“I do think it is a beautiful old building,” she said. “If you put the police department or fire department here, it would be great to renovate. I don’t think it should be renovated without a purpose though. They have talked about moving City Hall here but, the city owns that building too. What would they do with that empty building if they moved City Hall here?”
The building is nostalgic for Tom Tanner, who attended second grade there in 1940. “I was in that room right there,” he said pointing to a lower window.
“I do not think putting money in this building would be throwing money into a sinkhole. This building is very well built. I’ve put a lot of telephones in this building. It is in pretty good shape. I would hate to see it torn down. It needs to be cleaned up. The police department should be in here. Clean the building up and bring the police back to this building,” said Tanner.