News-Sun photo by ED BALDRIDGE The Town of Lake Placid is trying to buy a church building at 1069 U.S. 27 North in order to turn it into a new town hall.
published: Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Lake Placid officials discuss purchasing church building
By ED BALDRIDGE
LAKE PLACID - Lake Placid Town Council voted 2-1 to make a $1.25 million offer on a church building that could serve as the new town hall.
Located at 1069 US 27 North, just south of the Florida Hospital Lake Placid, the building was appraised in August of 2011 at $2.4 million.
Highlands Independent Bank, the current owner of the property, informed the town of a $2.2 million asking price on June 28.
Councilman Ray Royce made the motion to make an offer on the building at $1.25 million, stating that the extra space in the building could be turned into a community center.
"We ought to wade into this very, very cautiously," Royce said. "The extra space in the church could be used for a civic center and when you are looking at spending $150,000 into fixing the restrooms in this building, it kind of makes sense in the long run."
Councilman Steve Bastardi was opposed to making an offer.
"The property is not within the town's limits and it will not be within the town limits in the near future," he said.
"It is significantly more space than we need in any foreseeable future. We don't have an operational budget, so I have no idea what it will cost to operate. The message it will send is that the town is moving out of town," Bastardi said.
"I don't believe that the town needs a civic center when we have a private business willing to provide. This is an extraordinary folly to me. I know I'm the odd man out, but I am baffled."
"We are the only community in Highlands County without a community center," said Councilman Mike Waldron, who seconded the motion.
"I am taking a very long view," Royce countered to Bastzrdi's objections.
Royce also made it clear that he wanted to address issues of conducting town business outside of town limits as part of the offer, but overall thought the deal was too good to pass up because of future town needs.
"Offering 57 percent of the appraised value is a bargain. There is a value of having space where people can meet and do things," Royce said.
"When we talk about the space needs of a growing utilities system, in my mind, when I think about what we are about to have to spend expanding this building, I would like to look at the opportunity to acquire this parcel at a value," Royce said.
"My second was to move this along. I have had several discussions with business owners. Many have said that if you move the town up on the hill, it will kill the small business in town. I disagree with that," Waldron said.
Waldron also said that if the town could purchase the building at $1.25 million, it would be "a bargain."
Bert Harris, the town's attorney, stated that the town would have to look at annexing the property in order to hold meetings in the Sunshine.
Mayor John Holbrook and town staff were directed to take the offer back to Highlands Independent Bank this week.
Mike Waldron (by: Michael M.E. Waldron - 7/15/2012)
The "Mike Waldron" on LP Town Council is not the same man as the Mike Waldron that is the contractor. I do know the "other" Mike Waldron, a relative and a good man.
new purchase (by: surprisesurprise - 7/13/2012)
buying anything at a reduced price always seems logical- it is the same practice retailers and car sales have used for a century- mark it high , then create a bargain compared to the ask price! Be very wary of any deal connected to Mike Waldron- his reputation for deals to Gov't precedes him (boondoggle at Kenilworth elections bldg.) Get the buildout costs first or at least make it a contingency up front to purchase. We may be close to a real estate bottom, but I also heard the same in 2009
what? (by: Theresa - 7/12/2012)
town hall and a civic center together? I can see it now ... drunk man from wedding party breaks into town hall office and damages computers and other equipment. drunk man remembers nothing except passing out.
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