City Council takes no action on AEDC funds for building

Albion Economic Development Corp. has proposed the purchase of this building at 127 South Fourth Street for its separate office space.
Albion City Council did not act last week on a request by the Albion Economic Development Corp. for city sales tax funds to purchase a downtown building for use as its office space.
No motion was made regarding the $70,000 requested for purchase of the building at 127 South Fourth Street (formerly Palmer Eye Care).
A lengthy discussion was held during the meeting between council members and AEDC directors John Moeller and Tony Levander, who represented the request at the meeting.
Councilman Jack Dailey expressed concern about the building cost. He said the building had sold for $40,000 in October of 2020. Levander replied that major building improvements since that time included a new roof and new electrical wiring. Also, several walls were installed to provide office spaces.
New Position Discussed
Councilman Marcus Johnson said he has reservations about how a shared director’s position is proposed between AEDC and the city, and he would like to see a more defined role for that position before a building is purchased for multiple uses.
“The town already has a lot of meeting spaces,” said Johnson. “I would like to see a better defined role for this employee.”
Andrew Devine, city administrator, said the position could include a variety of duties, including website and social media management, as well as community promotion.
From AEDC’s perspective, Moeller and Levander said the position will be focused on needs specific to Albion, Right now, the top need is housing. They noted that AEDC has helped spearhead successful efforts such as downtown improvements, the walking trail, Boone Beginnings and more. “Right now we have momentum, and we need a person to follow through on housing,” said Levander.
Councilman Jon Porter said he likes the idea of a shared position. However, that position could be filled and housed in a rented office space at first.
“You can have that presence without having to own the bricks and mortar,” he said. “You can use funds first to offset salary costs and start the housing program.”
Complete story in the Feb. 16 Albion News/Boone Co. Tribune, print and e-editions.