London City Council continues to debate sale of The Armory at 15 E. Second St.
Both Henry Comer, owner of Mandy’s Day Care at 55 S. Oak St., and Joe Mullins of AE Real Estate Holdings, 106 S. Main St., want to buy the 84-year-old former military facility.
The city bought The Armory in 1998 for $138,500, intending to create a community recreation center. But that plan never materialized. The city eventually acquired the former school complex on Walnut Street and converted the high school gym into a community center.
Mullins told council in February he plans to house youth programs of London’s Crossroads Church in The Armory — if his $57,000 offer is accepted.
Comer told the group on Thursday, March 6, that he will move his child care business and expand services if allowed to purchase The Armory. He declined last week to disclose his offer, but said negotiations with the city began last fall — prior to Mullins’ offer.
Madison County Future, Inc. was appointed sales agent in January.
Council members declined to act on either offer, following a 30-minute executive session during Thursday’s meeting. Discussion will likely resume at the March 20 meeting.
However, council gave quick approval to an ordinance to earmark proceeds from sale of The Armory for improvements to the London Community Center on Walnut Street.
A $14,580 NatureWorks grant from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) helped with the 1998 purchase. Stipulations tied to that grant required reinvestment of The Armory sale proceeds in a city recreational facility, according to the ODNR.
Other state grants paid for improvements to the building in recent years, according to city auditor Katie Hensel.
Also on Thursday, council member Rex Castle said the London Municipal Pool may need a manager and assistant manager for the 2014 season. Recreation manager Ben McCoy will oversee activities at the community center and city baseball and softball fields.
Safety-services director Steve Hume reported a state highway improvement project for state Route 665 between Main Street in London and the Franklin County line will begin April 20 and move westward, reaching the city by June 23.
Hume also said a planned revamping of the U.S. Route 42 and Interstate 70 interchange will include a safety study of High Street intersections in London between Elm Street and Madison Road.
Winter weather delayed a project to study the need for traffic lights at other intersections in the city, Hume said.
Jane Beathard can be reached at (740) 852-1616, ext. 16 or via Twitter @JaneBeathard.