FULTON – The Fulton Historical Society had the money to buy the Drives Building and the City Council voted in favor of selling it, but that still wasn’t enough to save the 105-year-old former factory.
The council voted 5-4 Friday to accept the society’s bid of $10,500 to buy the building, but the motion failed because it required 75 percent approval – or seven votes – to pass.
The city then accepted Lohman Construction’s bid of $143,850 for abatement and demolition, but not before Mayor Mike Ottens cast the vote to break the council’s 4-4 tie.
Several people spoke in support of sparing the building, including Charles Dykstra of the Drives Historic Building Committee, who said the effort to save it “was a big undertaking.”
“Now we have a source to help us, and so I see no reason why you shouldn’t vote for it,” Dykstra said. “When you had your last meeting we thought ... there was going to be everybody for it, but it appears that several of you are against it. I can’t understand why.
“We cannot afford to spend that money to tear that building down when we have good financial backing to make it go.”
The building at 1009 First St. has been at the center of an ongoing disagreement between the City Council and the committee over what to do with it. The committee planned to make it a community center, including an office for the tourism director and an upstairs conference room for larger groups or banquets.
Built in 1913 for Fidelity Life Insurance, the building was bought in 1974 by Drives, a chain manufacturing company for agriculture and industry. It gave it to the city in 2010, the year before Drives was bought by Timken Co.