VILLAGE OF NEPONSET: Church parts with Boss Center
Village of Neponset issued the following announcement on June 7.
Kewanee’s First Baptist Church has sold the Boss Community Center building to a commercial property developer.
The fate of the building has been unknown for months after the congregation determined that ongoing maintenance costs had become too high.
“It has become less and less functional and the upkeep and maintenance costs have grown,” said Brock Tumbleson, a church member who was involved in the sale. “We took the vote to sell it.“
The church also had considered razing the property at one point, but the cost to do that was expected to be more than $200,000 and cost-prohibitive for the congregation.
Boss Manufacturing gifted the 1914 office building, 221 First St., to the church in 2008. The church turned it into a community center.
The new owner of the building, Anthony Witt, has not yet decided how to develop the property, but has plans to renovate it for commercial purposes.
Tumbleson said he accompanied Witt on meetings with local development officials this week, including Kewanee’s city manager, the Chamber of Commerce and the Kewanee Economic Development Corporation.
Witt currently is considering different development ideas for the property.
“I thought they could share some ideas with him as to what to do with the building,” he said.
Tumbleson said ideas at the meetings ranged from a coffee shop to office space to a collection of smaller shops.
Witt, who could not be reached in time for this story, reportedly plans to renovate the building and bring it up to commercial code.
Tumbleson said the congregation had mixed feelings about letting the building go.
On one hand, it’s served the purpose the church had hoped it would, with numerous community events held there throughout the years, including at one time the Festival of Trees.
“We gave it a lot of use as a community center,” he said.
But on the other hand, between upkeep and maintenance, and the inability of it to be rented out for social events that included alcohol, it had started to be a drain on the church.
“We just didn’t want to put more money into that building,” he said. ”(Witt will) be dealing with some of the issues we did.“
However Witt decides to develop the property, Tumbleson said it’s a positive that the building will be placed back on city rax rolls.
“Hopefully, it will still serve the community well and he’ll be able to restore a historical landmark
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