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NR rejects idea of buying industrial building

There was a changing of the guard at a special meeting of the New Richmond City Council April 21.

Alderman Jim Johnston served one final meeting in his official capacity as Second District's representative. Newly elected Kirk Van Blaircom was eventually sworn in, along with re-elected council member Fred Horne.

Prior to Johnston's departure, the council voted unanimously to end discussions with the owner of a building at 750 N. Knowles Ave. about the possible purchase of the structure.

The council toured the "Simma Building" in March and studied the possibility of renovating the structure to meet space needs for the city.

The city is looking to construct a new street shop, and searching for possible additional space for the police department as current office locations are filling up.

But Horne said the asking price for the Simma building seemed high, especially considering the amount of renovation work that would need to be done to make it useable for the city's needs.

"The price at that time didn't work financially for the city," he said.

Even though city officials were led to believe the asking price was firm, Horne added, the building owner has indicated that he might be willing to negotiate further.

Even at a lower price, Horne said, "the property will not work" for the city. He recommended that the council vote against further talks with the property owner.

It was approved on a 5-0 vote, with Alderman Roberta Dale-Wozniak being absent.

In other business, the council approved a motion to ask consultants for proposals to design the city's planned street shop.

The council hopes to have proposals back by its May 11 meeting, so that a firm can be hired.

City Administrator Dennis Horner said he estimates the project will cost the city about $1.1 million.

• Mayor David Schniztler read a thank you note from Lillian Schuette expressing her appreciation for the council's decision to support her husband while he attends basic training for the National Guard. She said the city's decision to pay the difference between police officer John Schuette's salary and his military pay put the couple at ease. The city also will continue benefits while the police officer is away for seven months of training.

The city has signed on as an Employer Support of the Guard and Reserve (ESGR) backer. The organization encourages employers to go above and beyond the minimum in supporting those who volunteer for military service.