Knox City Council Weighs Options on Building in Downtown Area

This is the location of the old Everett's Drug Store/movie theater

Gene Blastic, a Board member on the Starke County Economic Development Foundation, came before the Knox City Council this week to discuss options concerning the old Everett’s Drug Store. The building, at the corner of Lake and Main Street, was for a short time a movie theater, and is owned by the Economic Development Foundation.

Blastic discussed options such as demolishing or rehabbing the building. Blastic said he thought the City might be interested in entering into a planning partnership to decide how this might figure into the future downtown improvements.

“If you’re going to do something in the City, you certainly want it to be complimentary to what the City’s objectives and plans would be and complimentary to the development to the City ,” said Blastic. “You don’t want to tear something down and leave it in an ugly situation, at least that’s our position. When we’re looking at these options, we’re looking not only at what’s best for the Development Foundation, but we’d like to do something in concert with the redevelopment of the City or the promoting the redevelopment of the City.”

Blastic told why it is imperative that the Foundation make some decisions about the corner building.

“We feel we have some immediate need to do this because the theatre building is in pretty bad repair. We either have to spend a lot of money just to keep it standing there or do something else with it. We’re kind of putting a little push on getting down to maybe three or four options that we can price out that we all find acceptable and then moving forward on some sort of a decision process.”

Blastic said the City might want to try for a planning grant for downtown Knox.

“If I were an investor coming in here and wanting to do something in the City of Knox and I was going to spend some money doing it, I’d kind of like to know how that’s fitting in with what’s going on after that. I don’t want to invest a lot of money and have that depreciate. I’d rather invest and see it appreciate in concert with some sort of plan that we have.”

Here are the options proposed at the Council meeting:
1. Do nothing
2. Tear down the building
3. Fully rehab the building
4. Tear Down part and rehab part of the building and also rehab 2nd floor of SCEDF Building at 4 North Main)
5. Rehab the building and SCEDF Building at 4 North Main
6. Tear Down the building and remove SCEDF 2nd floor, and provide a new roof and addition to back of SCEDF.
7. Give the building to the City if a grant can be obtained to tear it down.
8. Buy the 2 parcels North of SCEDF Building, tear down the entire corner and build new.
9. Help the City develop a new building on the site.