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Zook's got the Button; Aledo aldermen approve sale of historic building


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Originally Posted Online: April 15, 2013, 9:41 pm
Last Updated: April 16, 2013, 12:27 am
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By Pam Berenger, pberenger@qconline.com

The historic Button Building in downtown Aledo will be sold to Zook Investments, Inc for $233,488.

Aledo alderman on Monday voted to waive the second reading of the ordinance, sealing a deal that has been the subject of closed sessions for several meetings.

"I commend the council on its fact gathering, its efforts and time spent on this matter," Mayor Bill Breeden said after the vote. "A lot of thought went into the planning to make this happen."

Ald. Tab Balmer, who often has criticized tax increment financing loans and grants, said he was pleased with the outcome.

"It's the right thing to do for Aledo," Mr. Balmer said.

Don Zook, president of Zook Investments, said plans include for the three businesses in the building -- Vintage Button, the Liberty Station restaurant and a delicatessen -- to remain.

"I feel optimistic about the business," he said. "Closing the businesses there would impact the city. All make a contribution to bringing the people downtown."

The city bought the landmark building at 101 N. College Ave. from the Button House Development for $200,000. To facilitate the sale, Black Hawk State Bank will release the mortgage for less than is owed, said city attorney Mark Walton.

The $233,488 purchase price includes an additional amount of TIF incentives owed by the Button House Development Group

The council also will be asked to approve a redevelopment loan of $283,000, of which $170,000 will be a forgivable loan as long as there are retail businesses in the building. The remaining $113,000 is a "straight" loan to be repaid in monthly installments over 9.5 years.

Mr. Walton said all obligations are secured by a mortgage, allowing the city to foreclose if payments are not made or if Mr. Zook fails to maintain retail businesses in the building for more than six months.

The council also agreed to issue Mr. Zook the remainder of a 2008 TIF forgivable loan of $66,391 for property on Main Street.

In other business, alderman approved TIF grant applications for two buildings owned by Aledo Welding Enterprises, Inc. Both grants fall under the building code and life safety upgrade program and will cover 50 percent of the cost of improvements, up to $25,000.

Council members also approved spending $5,000 for a billboard advertising campaign to generate interest in Aledo's three main activities: Rhubarb Fest, the Mercer County Fair and Antique Days.

Economic development committee member John Hoscheidt said the billboard will be up for four months starting in May, either on Interstate 280 near Jumer's Casino or on U.S. 67 south of Milan.

In other matters, city economic development coordinator Kathy Albert reported Ameren Illinois has rejected the city's request that it participate in a utility subsidy.

"It's disappointing to learn," she said. "After eight weeks of corresponding with the company, they have decided not to participate."

Mayor Breeden said he met last week with Ameren representatives about four issues and the letter came as a surprise.

"I was semi-promised I would hear back from there about those issues," he said. "The only reply was the rejection letter."

Aldermen on Monday also approved requests for road closing for the April 27 Healthy Kids Day event; the June 7 and 8 Rhubarb Festival and a June 8 Alley Art event.

















 




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  Today is Saturday, Aug. 30, the 242nd day of 2014. There are 123 days left in the year.

1864 — 150 years ago: A large pair of elk, captured in Iowa, were exhibited in Market Square today.
1889 — 125 years ago: The Rock Island Arsenal dam was being constructed under the supervision of Charles Frances, of Lowell, Mass.
1914 — 100 years ago: Mrs. Frank Mixer, of Rock Island, was the winner of the final preliminary for the women's handicap golf cup at Rock Island arsenal links.
1939 — 75 years ago: Sixteen hundred persons — many from war-fearful Europe — arrived in New York aboard the German liner Bremen. For two days on the trip, passengers were cut off from the world with both incoming and outgoing radio messages banned.
1964 — 50 years ago: Police reported five youths have been involved in the theft of about seven cars in recent weeks. Three of the youths were arrested Saturday afternoon, one was in custody as the result of a previous arrest, and the fifth is expected to be arrested today.
1989 — 25 years ago: The Rock Island/Milan School Board is asking the city to tear down Franklin School and allow the school district to pay back the estimated $100,00 cost during 10 years.






(More History)