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Published March 25, 2013, 05:51 PM

Century Old Building Comes Down in Minto

A century-old building in downtown Minto was demolished today, but not without controversy. The city used money from an economic fund to buy and tear down the building.

By: David Schwab, WDAZ

A century-old building in downtown Minto was demolished today, but not without controversy. The city used money from an economic fund to buy and tear down the building.

Some question the use of those funds but those questions were answered with a wrecking ball.

The mayor of Minto says the property was bought to do a project to keep the town moving forward. Other residents say it was an expense that will do little to spark new business.

Minto Mayor Lane Kelley is looking over the demolition of the old Gudajtes building, a former grocery store. The council decided last month to buy the 100-plus-year-old building for 40,000 dollars. And it was taken down for 9,500 dollars.

Kelley: "This is pretty valuable property on a major US highway on our main street and it will be more valuable with the old building knocked down and cleaned up."

The money used comes from an economic development fund from a one percent sales tax established in 2006. Kelley says the city wanted to do something with the building and the property that has been empty for two years.

Kelley: "It's kind of the old field of dreams mentality, if you build it they will come. And that is what we are hoping for."

Others doubt the city will get its money's worth from the purchase.

Melvin Tibert, Minto Resident: "If the people knew their money would be spent buying old buildings I don't think the tax would of passed way back then either."

Melvin Tibert started a petition to stop the sale, however the city attorney said the petition would not be accepted. Since then, there has been some backlash.

Kelley: "Mixed reaction I've been fielding some phone calls, actually sent out a letter to everyone in town."

Tibert:"In a town like Minto if someone is going to come in and pay 50,000 dollars for a 25 foot lot I think everybody in town is going to be selling."

Mayor Kelley says the council decided the price was inline with other downtown properties, however says an appraisal was never done. Some residents think the money could have been better spent."

Mayor Kelley says to avoid controversy in the future, he would like give residents more time to weigh in on issues like this one.

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