Home Breaking News Murfreesboro buys vacant bank building, to relocate city operations

Murfreesboro buys vacant bank building, to relocate city operations

News-Leader photo/JOHN BALCH NEW CITY PURCHASE. The Murfreesboro City Council approved the purchase of the former Bear State Bank building, which is located in the center of town at 805 North Washington.

By John Balch

News-Leader staff

The Murfreesboro City Council voted last Wednesday night in a special meeting to purchase the former Bear State Bank building for $150,000, with plans to relocate City Hall and the city’s police and water departments to the new building.

“I believe this will be a big step forward for the city,” Murfreesboro Mayor Rodney Fagan said when pitching the proposed purchase.

The building, which sits in the middle of town on Washington and has been vacant since the bank closed, is just shy of 4,000 sq. ft. and is currently owned by Arvest Bank.

Most of the building’s furnishings were removed after Bear State Bank ceased operations.

Fagan said the sellers had turned his offer, and possibly other offers, to buy the building for $100,000. The building was originally listed at $195,000.

The city plans to use funds held in two CDs from the sale of the Kidd building and the old chicken processing plant.

The two CDs total about $117,000 and the mayor said the city will need to borrow $50,000 since he projects it will cost anywhere from $10,000 to $17,000 to renovate and furnish the new building.

“I was hoping to get it for no debt,” Fagan said. He expects to pay the loan off in five years with monthly payments of around $1,000.

All aspects of the relocation will have to have approval from the city council before proceeding.

“We need to get the building bought and then we’ll deal with space issues, the additional costs and who goes where later,” Fagan said.

There was also talk of the water department and Murfreesboro Tourism and Advertising Commission paying a small amount of rent to help defray the costs until the loan is paid off.

Initial plans also include moving the city’s digital marquee to the new location with hopes of using economic development funds to help with the hefty costs of relocating the sign.

The new location could also serve as a much-needed tourist information center, the mayor added.

Fagan said all space in the current City Hall, which was completed in 1972 when William “Dub” Deal was mayor, will be utilized and there is talk of a private citizen donating funds to expand the Pike County Library, which resides in City Hall rent free.

The community room will still be available for the public to rent at City Hall and the Murfreesboro Chamber of Commerce and tourism commission could utilized the office space vacated by the city offices.

The motion to make the purchase passed by a split 4-2 vote with Betty O’Neal, Mark Barnes, Lewis Gills and Lynda Stone voting “yes.”

The “no” votes were cast by Jeff Walls and Jason Allmon.

Allmon and Walls both said they voted against the purchase because they felt “rushed” and both expressed their concerns about depleting the funds in the CDs for the upgrade.

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