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Solon council to consider Candy Store

SOLON– For years, the commercial property known as the Candy Store sat vacant.
The two-story building (also referred to as the Kramer building, for its previous owner) located at 100 W. Main St. is now listed for sale, and the members of the Solon City Council are going to take a look.
Council members are still knee-deep in their consideration of the possible purchase of the Brosh Chapel and Community Center as a site for a new city hall, but the new listing will now get some attention as well.
At a regular meeting last week, council members decided to make independent visits to the newly-listed site, currently held by Solon Development Inc., and come together for a special session Wednesday, July 27, to discuss it further.
“One of the buildings we talked about a couple of meetings ago that wasn’t available, is now available,” said council member Sue Ballantyne. “I think there are enough positive things to say about that building that I think it warrants some discussion and to look at that property.”
The city has been looking at available locations since the Brosh site was offered as a potential location for municipal offices in April. Since then, council members, city staff and the mayor have been discussing other options and possible financing for the $1.3 million purchase price.
The Kramer building is being listed for $320,000. It features pre-stressed concrete ceilings, which would provide a clear span layout with no load-bearing interior walls. The concrete construction would also lend itself for use as a storm shelter or an eventual police station, Ballantyne suggested.
“I keep hearing how we want a Main Street presence for our city office, and this building actually has a Main Street address,” Ballantyne added. She noted it would be very visible, and its centrally-located site adjacent to the fire station could also be beneficial.
Mayor Rick Jedlicka suggested the city might look at the property in combination with the Brosh land, perhaps as a location for fire station expansion. “We definitely need to consider this as one other thing to talk about,” Jedlicka said, although he suggested the Kramer property might not be on the market long.
Council member Steve Stange said he felt the price was a little high and expressed concern about the ability to install a sprinkler system.
Ballantyne noted in response the assessed value was closer to the asking price for the Kramer building ($266,500 assessed value) than with the Brosh building ($720,650).
Stange agreed the property was worth considering, although he felt the city would spend $70-100,000 on a remodel (including a sprinkler system).
He also questioned whether the city would look to utilize the existing building or tear it down and build again.
“I have mixed feelings,” commented council member Cami Rasmussen. “There was a time when we all sat and looked at that building and dreamt of the day that it was available.
“I don’t think anything we could put there would compare to the Brosh building,” she continued. “I don’t want to stop the momentum we have on the Brosh building.”
It was eventually agreed that all council members would attempt to schedule a showing of the building with Realtor Chris Mottinger within a week, and discuss it at the special session July 27.
The council members went on to continue a previous discussion on the impact of a $1.3 million bond on future budgets. The city is currently looking at paying back any potential bonds through a combination of debt service levy and Tax Increment Finance (TIF) funds.
City Administrator Cassandra Lippincott reviewed several possible variables on the expense side– the percentage paid by TIF and the percentage paid by debt service levy, the general growth of departmental budgets and staff, a conservatively estimated rate of growth for the city’s general fund–and their impact on future budgets.
Based on the discussions, it appeared city property taxes would likely increase as a result of the bond, especially in the short term. But in most of the scenarios, using conservative revenues and aggressive expenses, the city projected a continued budget surplus.