SHERIDAN — The initial plan for Sheridan County to sell the property at 429 W. Alger St., formerly owned by the Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library, now remains on hold with direction to compile additional research on the project.
Discussions in October indicated the Sheridan County commissioners’ desire to sell the building after acquiring it from the library board of trustees.
Sheridan County Fulmer Public Library Foundation members presented prices from Fletcher Construction for both renovations and demolition of the building that currently needs repairs to be up to code for potential renters, if kept. Renovations ranged between $20,000 to $25,000 and demolition of the building estimated at $17,500.
Beth White, chair of the foundation board, told commissioners, on behalf of the foundation, that the foundation remained willing to take ownership of the property again.
“We would certainly be willing to take over the responsibility for it so there would be no burden on the library and there would be no cost to the county,” White said, “which I think is a much better option than you guys selling it.”
Sheridan County administrative director Renee Obermueller said the foundation acquired the building in 2001 and a quitclaim deed for the property in 2005 transferred ownership from the foundation to the county. Obermueller said she didn’t know the history of the quitclaim and why the foundation did not remain the owner of the property.
“I don’t know if there were some bylaw restrictions on owning property or assets by the foundation,” Obermueller said.
She said she needed to first consult the county’s legal team before transferring ownership of the property to the foundation.
White said the building was initially purchased by the foundation for future use and space for the library. Compass Center for Families occupied the space from 2006 until the organization received new facilities last spring.
“We don’t know what that future use might be, but it’s a pretty huge asset to have,” White said. “It’s probably something we’d never be able to get back.”
White discussed options of possibly keeping the demolitioned area as green space available for future library expansion or renting the building out if the foundation again receives ownership and decides to renovate.
County commissioner Tom Ringley suggested a quitclaim deed for the property to ensure the county will no longer hold any responsibility to the property.
Obermueller reminded the board of commissioners of the demolition option, despite its political nature.
“If you’re looking at the future of the library and maintaining the property, it removes the liability of the building,” Obermueller said.
Obermueller said continued work on the building and maintenance remains the county’s concern.
“$20,000 is going to put a bandaid on what needs to be done,” Obermueller said. “It’s not going to solve the problem of that building.”
Ringley insisted continued research on the project include the library foundation and board of trustees and the burden not to fall entirely on Obermueller. Commissioner Terry Cram agreed with the idea to quitclaim a deed to the foundation to have it make the final decisions.
The commissioners set a timeline of discussing the project again in spring 2018.