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UPDATE: Council to get appraisal for library/police building

The city of Hudson purchased the former corporate headquarters building at the corner of First and Vine streets in late 2009 for $2.5 million. The purchase included the office building on Second Street at Vine.

The Hudson City Council voted Tuesday night, Sept. 4, to get an appraisal of the value of the city building that houses the Hudson Area Joint Library and Hudson Police Department.

The vote followed a closed session near the end of the meeting in which the council talked about a strategy for selling the building.

The vote to discuss a marketing strategy and price for the building behind closed doors came after the council debated whether to even consider a sale.

Mayor Alan Burchill said he was advised by City Attorney Catherine Munkittrick that the first portion of the discussion could take place in open session.

Burchill said Barbara Peterson, president of the library board, had told him the library doesn't have a desire to buy the building at this time.

The city purchased the former Nuclear Management Co. headquarters, located at First and Vine streets, in late 2009 for $2.5 million. The purchase included the smaller office building on Vine Street at Second Street that was sold in June 2010 to Sarah Atkins and John Hoggatt of Archovations Inc. for $260,000.

Hoggatt was elected alderperson for District 5 the following spring.

The purchase of the former corporate headquarters building also allowed the city to sell the Hudson Municipal Building on Fourth Street, where the library previously was located. That sale brought in $475,000 for the city.

District 2 Alderperson Mary Yacoub supported pursuing a sale of the library/police department building.

"I think we have to have a plan. In this market, it may take some time to sell," she said.

Yacoub said the money from the sale could be used to help pay for a new public safety building.

The new building, presumably, would house the fire and police departments, and the ambulance and rescue service.

Yacoub said selling the building wouldn't mean the library has to leave it.

"I don't see what would be wrong with exploring selling it," she said.

Hoggatt said he wasn't interested in selling the library/police department building.

"To me, now doesn't seem the right time to turn that egg," he said, indicating that real estate prices are depressed.

When a question was raised about how much the building might sell for, District 1 Alderperson Randy Morrissette II said that was a topic for a closed session. The council then voted unanimously to go into closed session.

Council President Rich Vanselow was absent.

Roy Sjoberg, a member of the library board's finance committee, said the library would be interested in buying the building if the library remains a joint library, and can solve its revenue problems.

If the library reverts to a municipal library, it wouldn't make sense for the library to purchase the building, Sjoberg said. He said that would be like requiring the police department to purchase its office space.

The library has two years, four months left on a five-year lease of the building, with the option to renew the lease for another five years.

The library also has the option to purchase the building, but must act on it before Oct. 31, 2014. The lease agreement says city reserves the right to terminate or renegotiate the terms of the purchase option if the library hasn't acted on it by then.

An addendum to the lease and option to purchase agreement singed Aug. 9, 2010, following the sale of the Second Street office building, set the price for the library/police building at $2,240,000 million, with $112,000 added to the price on Jan. 1 of each year beginning in 2011.

That would make the current price of the building $2,464,000. The agreement also allows the city and library to renegotiate the price.

Randy Hanson

Randy Hanson has reported for the Star-Observer since 1997. He came to Hudson after 11 years with the Inter-County Leader at Frederic, and eight years of teaching social studies. He’s a graduate of UW-Eau Claire.

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