PAW PAW - A public hearing scheduled Tuesday by Van Buren County Commissioners to hear comments on a proposal to designate as a Brownfield the site of a massive fire in downtown Gobles that destroyed three businesses. The plan garnered brief, but positive public input on the issue.
“It’s time to move forward,” said Gobles City Mayor Carol Johnson, during public comment.
The Gobles City Commission had earlier stated its support for the Brownfield designation.
Van Buren County Brownfield Authority Chairperson Lisa Phillips said Tuesday afternoon that “Hometown Properties is ready to move forward.”
She told commissioners that demolition and site clean-up is expected to begin next month, with development of the property planned for this year.
“I haven’t heard anything negative. It’s all been very positive for all parties concerned,” said County Commissioner Donald Hanson.
On April 6, 2012, a massive fire swept through three businesses in downtown Gobles – Jan’s Trailside Cafe, Jan’s Oasis and C.C.C. Bait and Tackle were all destroyed in the fire. A total of 11 area fire departments battled the blaze.
A draft of the proposed Brownfield re-development plan presented to commissioners June 11, stated that Hometown Properties, LLC, has a purchase agreement with owner Jan Westcott to build a new HomeTown Pharmacy on the properties at 212 and 214 S. State St.
Home Town Pharmacy is currently located north of the proposed Brownfield redevelopment, at 206 S. State St.
Under the proposal of the fire-damaged site, demolition of the existing building materials and removal of all debris and concrete within the (former) building would take place, in addition to the transportation of those materials for disposal off site.
A proposed 4,840-square-foot retail store and pharmacy would then be constructed on the site, located at the northwest corner of South State and West Main streets. A drive-through pharmacy window would be located on the building’s west side.
Site improvements would include hardscape features and landscaping. Public infrastructure would include burying overhead electrical lines, streetscape improvements and road improvements.
The Brownfield Authority would use $110,000 of the program’s retained earnings.