On Monday evening city commissioners voted to approve the $315,000 purchase of the former U.S. Post Office on West Reynolds Street.
City commissioners voted to approve the purchase of the former U.S. Post Office properties on Monday night.
The vote is one of the final steps in bringing the vacant structure under city control. City Manager Bill McDaniel will now finalize paperwork with the United States Postal Service to complete the transaction. Hopefully, within 30 to 90 days the property will switch hands to the city of Plant City and the property’s next chapter can begin.
“The main reason for purchasing the property was to secure the future, basically to have options available for what that corner will look like since it’s so important as an entryway to our downtown,” McDaniel said. “Potential uses could be for expanding city services or improving city services. I can see it being a customer service type of operation over there, but we also might just be able to go back and convert it to a commercial use at some future time. The most important thing was being able to control the destiny of that corner.”
After much negotiation, the city was able to agree upon a purchase price of $315,000 for the post office building, located at 301 W. Reynolds St., its parking lot and its outlying parking lots.
There is currently asbestos and mold in the building but McDaniel said it is entirely manageable as far as he knows and the building will be able to be saved without having to be demolished.
Once the property is officially under the city’s control, McDaniel said it will immediately begin benefiting the community. The adjacent parking lot will be reopened to the community, which will aid in relieving the strain on parking for the church, community theater and other local buildings downtown.
He said the building itself will more than likely not be addressed immediately until the city has a more concrete timeline on what it wishes to do to the property. The building will be addressed in phases to get it restored to its former glory.
Originally the plan was to let the private commercial industry take over the property and put it back into use for the community. However, after years of no action, the city decided to put itself “in the driver’s seat” and make sure it would be used to promote quality throughout the city.
“It takes a nonperforming property out of our downtown and allows us to have the option to determine its future,” Mayor Rick Lott said. “I believe our city manager and our city commission will find the best use of that property so that it can have a positive impact on our downtown.”
The city finds itself often making decisions years in advance to have the pieces in place to further Plant City’s comprehensive plan. Purchases like the post office and the lot near the library, which was also approved Monday night, help ensure that when tomorrow comes, Plant City is on track to evolve to keep up with the changing times.
On Monday night the commissioners voted to approve the purchase of a property on 508 N. Thomas St. The city has been slowly acquiring land near Bruton Memorial Library as it becomes available in case there is ever a need for expansion or development there. Purchasing adjacent property prevents the city from being landlocked if a need arises.
“A big part of what we do is planning for the future,” McDaniel said. “When you have these opportunities you have to seize them because 10 years from now you won’t be able to get them at this price.”
As Plant City grows that land could easily be used to renovate the library, expand parking or act as a perfect setting for whatever need may come. These individual pieces all fit into the larger picture of where Plant City wants to be in the next few decades, McDaniel said.
“When an opportunity arises we are going to do our best to seize it,” McDaniel said. “We’ll be able to keep promoting quality throughout the city and make sure in the future we have what we need because we took the necessary steps today.”