The county shop, and likely other county offices, will be moved to the former Straub building after commissioners at Monday’s meeting voted to purchase it for $325,000.
Commissioner Randy Dallke said they hope to use the building in a way that streamlines county operations.
Items needed by the county shop, such as a hoist and lift, will have to be installed before relocating there.
“We plan to restructure some offices and move some county offices out there,” Dallke said.
Dallke said as many as five offices could be moved there.
“It’s for the road and bridge, but there’s a lot of excess building there,” commissioner Dan Holub said.
Holub said moving the Extension Office out of the brick building south of the courthouse is an option that could create a place for full-time EMS personnel to stay during shifts.
Moving the shop saves the expense of building a new one and reroutes heavy equipment and truck traffic away from downtown and school areas.
One scenario discussed by commissioners would be to move economic development and planning and zoning offices to the courthouse, making the historic 1877 J. Bowron building at Main and 3rd Sts. just another vacant storefront. The building is one of the few remaining examples of prairie-style Victorian limestone architecture in Marion
The Bowron building could be sold to help offset the cost of the Straub building.
“Get that building doing something commercial on Main Street,” Holub said.
Any potential buyer would likely have to undertake extensive renovations to the building, which the county estimated several years ago could run as high as $500,000.
Dallke said commissioners will decide how to use the space before moving anything to the Straub building.
“There is no set date to get moved. We will plan, and orchestrate a plan, so we don’t have to move twice,” Dallke said.