The question of a City Hall relocation is on tonight’s City Council agenda. Item 7.5 asks the Council to act on the staff recommendation to drop the Big M building and chase the former Wells Fargo building for the City’s future home.
I have a lot of questions I’d like answered before I act on this issue, but there’s a line of thought that keeps rising when I consider the Big M building. I’m sharing now because I’d like your perspective. Catch me in the comments of this post, send me an email, wuphf me — whatever’s easiest — if you have a comment after reading below, please share.
My questions are these:
- If we the City — with our $3.75 million federal NDR grant head start — can’t get the Big M building to pencil out as a doable project, who can?
- And what happens if nobody can turn the building around?
On a side note, I’ve been publishing local commentary, thoughts on Minot, and news stories that seem relevant to current Minot questions for several years now here on TheMinotVoice.com. I’m regularly and often delightfully surprised by the news stories — sometimes from the far reaches of the country or world — that hit my radar at an opportune moment. Both Google and Facebook algorithms have an impressive ability to surface my subconscious.
I ask my questions above because a recent story out of Pasadena, Texas may very well paint the picture of Minot’s future regarding the Big M building. Follow this link to learn more about the final years of the First Pasadena State Bank Building; it was a structure eerily similar to the Big M building.
Here’s the gist:
In Pasadena, the City got the building back through tax delinquincy because the owner walked away.
In Pasadena, the building had degraded so far that the only option was demolition.
In Pasadena, demolition didn’t excuse the responsibility to take care of the asbestos.
In Pasadena, it was the taxpayers on the hook for all of it.
And in Minot, I wonder if there’s a lesson we can learn from Pasadena’s experience?