GIBSON CITY — Two properties in the 100 block of South Sangamon Avenue downtown, formerly known as Michael's Restaurant and Herman's Bar, have been an eyesore for more than a decade.
The council was presented this week with a solution it has yet to encounter during that span.
Randy Arends, owner of Gibson City Meats & Deli, located directly south of those two addresses, is in the process of closing on the purchase of his two neighboring properties at 103 and 105 S. Sangamon Ave. And, he has already received a bid of $55,000 from Lee Excavating to perform a complete demolition.
The council voted 5-3 to assist Arends with the undertaking, agreeing to reimburse him for an amount not to exceed $60,000 for the demolition of the two properties.
The city has been looking to acquire and demolish those two addresses for years, but for a public entity to demolish properties with asbestos, it had too high of a price tag and too many legal hurdles to cross.
"We think this is a win for the city and the taxpayers," Mayor Dan Dickey said. "I can't wait to see what Randy and (his wife) Bonnie do with the space created from the two properties."
"This is like getting a Christmas present early," Alderman Dean Kidd said.
The amount not to exceed $60,000 will come from the downtown revitalization budget line, which has $200,000 allotted for any projects helping to fix up the area.