OREGON – Foot-dragging by a federal agency has prompted an Oregon bank to abandon plans for a new building.
Roger Lehman, president of Harvard State Bank, said Monday the lack of a decision from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. means bank officials no longer plan to buy the Bemis Motor Co. building, at Fourth Street (Route 2) and Franklin Street, from Jay Franklin for a new Community Bank of Oregon.
“It’s not going to happen,” Lehman said. “It’s gone on for a year and a half, and the FDIC couldn’t give us a decision, so we’ve withdrawn. You know how the government is – they do what they want to. It’s not fair to Jay. It’s gone on long enough.”
Harvard Sate Bank owns Community Bank of Oregon, which is at state Routes 64 and 2 in the downtown.
Lehman announced last year that the bank was buying the Bemis property, a block north of the current bank.
Bank officials had planned to demolish the Bemis building and build a new bank with a drive-through window and ample customer parking.
Franklin said Tuesday that he was unaware that bank officials no longer planned to buy the property.
“No one from the bank has let me know that,” he said.
Franklin said he had a purchase contact with the bank for the property.
At this point, Lehman said, the bank is not considering another location for a new bank and will continue to do business at its present spot.
“We’re just going to take it a day at a time,” Lehman said.
Approval from the FDIC was the final step in getting the building project off the ground.
Because the Bemis property is within the downtown historic district, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, approval was first needed from the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency.
State officials decided a year ago to allow bank officials to demolish the Bemis Motor Co. building to make way for a new building – if the new design met certain requirements.
Anne Haaker, a state historical preservation officer, said the new bank must be “architecturally compatible” with the downtown historic district, something Lehman said was in the plans.
The IHPA had sought input from local citizens, agencies, and organizations before making its decision.