Madison council debates purchase of Gilmore property
By Stephanie Johns
Councilman Fred Perriman asked the council for their opinion regarding the purchase of the Gilmore property during Monday night’s meeting of the Madison City Council.
Perriman said the purchase could benefit the nearby neighborhoods and that there could be a store in the lower level of the property.
“Is the city in the business of running a grocery store? No. The city is in the business of benefitting the community,” he said.
Perriman said the realtor could only hold the property for so long.
“I would really like to get it going,” he said.
Councilman Whitey Hunt said he was not sure about the location because of the amount of travel passing by.
“Hopefully we can do something in 83 corridor,” he said. “That might make a more profitable location.”
Hunt mentioned that the city already owns several properties.
“Are we overextending?” he asked. “If it doesn’t work, what is our exit strategy?”
Councilman Joe DiLetto said that he has received a lot of phone calls and that the prevailing comment is that no one wants the city to establish businesses but when he asks them if they would prefer increased taxes, they are quick to say no.
“Something like this, if done properly, could generate revenue,” he said. “The house and property is certainly of value but it’s only as good as its end result.”
Hunt pointed out that the city would have to borrow money to purchase the property and then pay back that amount plus interest.
Mayor Bruce Gilbert said, “I know it’s a feel-good, but have we got any marketing strategy?”
DiLetto said that there’s potential there but that he doesn’t want the city to be in the business of making business, “But I do want the city to be in the business of making money.”
Hunt asked if another grant had been applied for.
City Planner Monica Callahan said that yes, they had requested Revitalization Area Strategy funding and will hear back in the next two weeks. She added that they already had the pre-engineering done.
Perriman then requested a called meeting after their next work session to discuss the purchase of the property further.
City Clerk Mellie Thomas said that there already was one.
Printed in the September 13 edition.