City looks for possible occupants for Heibel-March Building

Monday, June 4, 2012 | 11:17 p.m. CDT; updated 11:19 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, June 5, 2012
The Heibel-March Building is located at the corner of Range Line Street and Wilkes Boulevard.

* An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the action the council took. The council passed a motion to direct Parks and Recreation to issue a request for proposals.
** An earlier version of this story misstated the timeline for the request for proposal.

COLUMBIA — The city is looking for formal requests for possible occupants for the Heibel-March Building, located at the corner of Range Line Street and Wilkes Boulevard.

On Monday evening, the City Council passed a motion directing Parks and Recreation to issue a request for proposals* to determine whether any parties are interested in renovating and using the building. This request comes after the Parks and Recreation Commission's recommendation at its May 17 meeting that the building be taken down.

The deadline for proposals is expected to be around the first week of August, and the council is expected to review proposal recommendations from Parks and Recreation and the Historic Preservation Commission on Oct. 1.**

In the formal request, parties will have to explain what they want to do with the building and how they plan to fund the project.

"Right now we have two different parties that have expressed interest in the building," said Mike Hood, Parks and Recreation director. 

The building was purchased by the city in 1998 for $150,000 with the intent to make it part of Field Park, according to a previous Missourian report.

When the building was bought, the Parks and Recreation Department recommended the building be taken down and replaced with a large attractive landscape bed as an entrance into downtown.

The North Central Columbia Neighborhood Association wanted to save the building and turn it into a resource for the community. The building has since passed through the hands of a number of organizations including Central Missouri Community Action, First Chance for Children and Legacy Construction Group.

In 2008, it was estimated that it would cost between $200,000 and $250,000 to renovate the building.

This is not the first time the city has issued a request for proposals for the structure, Hood said. In 2008, the city issued a request for proposals for the building. In 2010, the Legacy Construction Group submitted a proposal to restore the building which never came to fruition, according to the Parks and Recreation Department's history of the building.

The Historic Preservation Commission will discuss the fate of the building at 7 p.m. Tuesday. 

Supervising editor is Ted Hart.

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Mike Martin June 5, 2012 | 8:27 a.m.

For 15 years or so, the city has been dangling this ridiculous idea that someone else needs to come along, pour a bunch of their own money into this building, and not own the land!

I remember former 1st Ward Councilwoman Almeta Crayton and I looking at it from across the street on afternoon.

I asked her why, when every other building in the Parks system is fully funded BY the parks system, parks taxes, etc. -- from renovation (including the department's own historic building offices) to maintenance -- that standard doesn't apply to this building?

"Because they want to let it blight out," Crayton told me. "They did it before; they're doing it again."

That's right. Blight.

You can darn well bet that photos of this building will be used to justify any Blight Decrees the city passes that are bound to include that area. They've already used photographs of their own neglect to justify the EEZ application to the state.

Meanwhile, long suffering neighbors over there have to continue contending with City Hall's own neglect.


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