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City debates future of Wren building

In the year since the Fulton City Council declared the old Wren Building to be surplus property, the city has struggled to generate interest in it.

During Tuesday night’s regular meeting, council members revisited the topic when Director of Administration Bill Johnson informed them of an opportunity to rent the structure out.

“We’ve tried to sell (the property) with no success, but recently we’ve had someone express an interest in leasing it,” Johnson said, noting the agreement would be for at least two years. “The building is in such condition the individual wants part of the rent to be subsidized by improvements they would make.”

Ward 1 councilman Mike West seemed to express support for the idea, noting, “I don’t have high hopes (it will sell).”

“We’ve already had it on the market for a year,” West said. “If you don’t see a market for it, rent it if you can.”

Ward 1 alderman Wayne Chailland, however, had an alternate suggestion as to what to do with the dilapidated building.

“You could bulldoze it,” Chailland said. “The way it is right now it looks like crap.”

Ward 3 councilman John Pautz sided with Chailland.

“I say we’re not in the rental business,” Pautz said. “If you can’t get it sold in the next year, level it.”

Ward 3 representative Richard Vaughn pointed out that if the renters fixed it up, that could make it more appealing to prospective buyers later.

“If we can get somebody in there for a couple years, things might turn around,” Ward 2 councilman Lowe Cannell agreed.”

No formal action was taken on the matter.

In other business, the council discussed a change order to construction of the new Tennyson Park fire station.

“When we bid the fire station there was a lot of discrepancy on the tower and radio communication system, so we had it taken out,” Johnson said. “We have since talked to the vendor (working the project) and we’re ready now to put it back in.”

He said for $110,000, the contractor will put in a 100 ft. tower and radio system.

Pautz asked — considering the height of the tower — if there was any way to run the line to the water tower and put the antennas there.

“When the south tower was put up in Ward 1, it was an eye sore,” Pautz said. “I’d much rather go that way than have a 100-foot tower put up.”

City engineer Greg Hayes said such a move likely would require an easement through Fulton Commons and also would have to run through the park.

“Those two antennas have to be separated by at least 30 feet and they’re about 22 feet each,” Hayes said. “I don’t know if we would be able to put them on the water tower or not because of that separation.”

He said he would look into whether running the antennas put on the water tower would be a viable option.

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