SHERIDAN — Sheridan County commissioners voted to delay demolition of the building at 429 W. Alger St. Tuesday so the county can explore lease agreements for the building.
The postponement came after Sheridan businessman Kim Love proposed the county lease him the building for $1 a year for 15 years. During the lease, Love said he would repair and maintain the building and look to rent it out. He added that leasing him the building would save the county the cost of tearing down the building, which has been estimated at $12,000, and additional costs if asbestos is discovered in the building.
“We would in effect just be a placeholder until some point down the road when you can use it,” Love said.
Love asked he be allowed to walk through the building before entering into the lease.
County administrative director Renee Obermuller told commissioners that the county would have to put out a public request for proposals to allow for competing offers. Love said if the county receives a better offer, he would step aside.
“I didn’t really want to be here; I thought by now somebody else would have come forward and come up with an idea for [the house],” Love said.
Cameron Duff, the library director of the Sheridan County Public Library System, said the building was intended to be an asset to the library and he has been concerned that if the building is leased out, the library would lose control of the property for the duration of the lease. Demolishing the building, he noted, was a way to preserve the property for future use without having to pour the library’s limited resources into maintaining the building. Love said if the library found a use for the building before the lease was up, it could reimburse him for money he has put into the building and he would cancel the lease.
“Mr. Love’s proposal is probably the first one that I’ve heard where they’ve actually said, ‘We want to do something to preserve [the building] for the library in the future,’” Duff said.
Shannon Anderson, chair of the Sheridan County Library Board of Trustees, echoed that any decision on the building should preserve the property as an asset for the library.
“We would support any proposal to keep that property ownership with the library, for the benefit of the library,” Anderson said.
Commissioners were scheduled to vote on a memorandum of understanding between the county and the county library foundation that would define responsibilities of the two entities for the demolition of the building. That vote has been postponed while the county explores options for the building.