On April 23, 2018, three weeks after the City was forced to close off a portion of west 5th Street, members of the Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC) met and expressed their concern about the future of the dilapidated property at 113 W. 5th Street. The group encouraged the City to take action, stating that neglected and substandard properties discourage economic development and present a safety concern.
The volunteer board unanimously voted to authorize the City to utilize the economic development revolving loan fund to demolish the dilapidated property, in order to create an economic development opportunity, expanding the City’s economic base by creating new jobs, generating additional sales tax and increasing property valuation. The committee approved this funding with the expressed desire to maximize economic impact of the property, and find the greatest return on the City’s investment of taxpayer dollars.
April 24, 2018, the City Commission voted to use RLF funds to incentivize redevelopment of the property by a revenue-producing entity. Following the commission’s decision, the City acquired the title for the property from the former owner and began the demolition process.
On Monday, May 7, more than a month after barricades blocked off 5th Street to pedestrians, the City began demolition of the building between 5th Street Bar and Grill and Dittman Insurance. Significant attention was paid to saving the integrity of both adjacent businesses during the demolition phase. With the three buildings sharing party walls, the process was done with extreme care, to prevent damage to both structures and protect the two active businesses that operate on that side of the street.
With the lot cleared and the rubble moved away, the City was ready to put the property back into productive use. The City decided to open up a competitive process by which businesses could submit their ideas for the future use of the property. The City received two letters of intent from interested businesses, hoping to repurpose the lot. In the interest of gathering feedback from citizens, City staff requested that the Downtown Advisory Board review the two proposals and provide a formal recommendation to the City Commission.
After a long discussion, the DAB recommended a proposal submitted by Rise Redevelopment, LLC, a real estate development company planning to relocate their headquarters to Pittsburg. The DAB also submitted a document explaining the rationale behind their recommendation, and answering some of the questions asked by members of the community, who have weighed in on social media.
While a formal recommendation has been made, the final decision is in the hands of the City Commissioners. Members of the commission will have the final say on the future of the property and the best plan to put the empty lot back into productive use. The next City Commission meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, June 12, 2018, at 5:30 pm, at the Beard-Shanks Law Enforcement Center.