City to purchase building for activities center
The City of Quincy is purchasing the former Studio 90 building on 2nd Avenue Southeast to use as an activities center.
The city is buying the building from Arnold Omlin of Studio 90/Health Connection Inc. for $420,000.
The recreation department will use the building as an activities center that will host a variety of programs, dances, camps and classes. It also has office space for the department.
However, because the building does not have a gym or room to build one, it will not be used as a recreation center. The city has been searching for about three years for property to build a new recreation center; it has been unsuccessful in identifying an appropriate property.
It’s important for the public to understand that the purchase of the Studio 90 building does not mean the city doesn’t plan to build a recreation center in the future, said Mayor Jim Hemberry.
“This is just a stepping stone until we can find the funding and build an actual rec center,” Hemberry said.
“This is the first step, but we’re not stopping here,” agreed Russ Harrington, manager of the city’s recreation department. “We’re still looking for a bigger parcel of ground.”
The city council voted 6-1 on Tuesday to buy the building. Only Councilman Dustin Petersen voted against the purchase, saying he was concerned what would happen to the building after a property is found for a recreation center.
“Is it just going to sit there?” Petersen asked.
At 105 2nd Ave. S.E., the building is about 5,000 square feet. The city is expected to close on the property on July 1, after the current owner has made several improvements. Among the improvements are the paving and striping of the gravel parking lot, upgrading the bathrooms and re-flooring the existing wooden dance floor.
Harrington said the Studio 90 building is the only building in town that can serve as an activities center. While the building isn’t near city hall, it is centrally located in a family neighborhood and within walking distance of the library and the junior high, he said.
“It isn’t great to split (city services) up, but I have always loved that location,” Harrington said.
It has become increasingly difficult to schedule programming in various buildings around town, said Harrington, who would like to add more community programs.
“This will just allow us to control our own activities a lot more,” he said. “We’re excited about the possibilities.”
The city budgeted $400,000 this year for the purchase of land for a recreation center. The $420,000 cost of the activities building was not budgeted; the city will pay for the building from the current expense account, Hemberry said.
As for what would happen to the building if property is identified for a recreation center, Hemberry said the city could use it as office space or it could sell it. Regardless, he does not anticipate finding a property for the recreation center in the near future.
“We have been looking for ground for three years,” Harrington said. “We could still be looking for the right piece of ground for three (more) years.”
— By Jill FitzSimmons, email@example.com