Monday, April 11, 2022

Council Approves Green Area on the Butler Square

Prolook Studio photo
 The Butler city council met in regular session last week and one topic high on the agenda was making a decision regarding the empty lot on the Southeast corner of the square. Following a partial structural collapse of the building on the lot in August of 2015, the property has been at the center of controversy and it will now get a fresh breath of life, following several gyrations over the past seven years. 

One of the original proposals included turning the property in to a ‘green area’ which would offer a grassy surface with park benches, historical markings, a stage for events and simply a nice place for folks to cool their heels while visiting the Butler square. Since Electric City Downtown originally floated the idea, it hadn’t come to fruition and in the meantime, adjacent landowner Brandon Plunknett (K&K Construction) offered to purchase the property for $1,750.00 with a promise to turn it into a green area while also making use of some of the space for his business. While Plunkett’s bid did drop to $500.00, the offer did include some $20,000.00 worth of dirt work, clean up, a memorial wall and other work done to put it in line with the original idea proposed by ECD. 

During the council meeting last week however, representatives with Electric City Downtown and the the Butler Historic Preservation Commission pitched an improved version of their original plan that would include the previously mentioned items along with bringing back the historical murals that once were visible around the square.

The groups did ask the city if their proposal was accepted, would the city provide clean up and dirt fill that would be needed, and also noted that financing for the rest of the project would come from donations.

With two offers on the table, the council weighed that fact that Plunkett was offering to do the clean up, was a tax paying business and wanted to only use a portion of the lot. However, following a lengthy discussion, it was voted and approved to allow Electric City Downtown and the Butler Historic Preservation Commission to proceed with their plan providing that visible progress would be made, with the bulk of the project to be completed in an approximate one year time frame.

In other council news, long time city employees Trent Diehl, Rusty Campell and Melvin Ewing were recognized for their outstanding service to the city.

Also discussed was a problem with feral cats, while there is no direct ordinance regarding what to do about them, there is an ordinance regarding pets, creating a gray area when a resident chooses to feed them. City attorney Joe Lauber will get back with the council with recommendations.

The Butler police department and the Bates County Sheriff’s Office in a joint effort are proposing a gun range that would be located at the far South end of the fairgrounds property, as now both parties have to go to rural Adrian or Clinton for gun certification. There is concern that police being out of the area while doing this could make them not locally available if something were to happen and they would be needed here. At this time, information regarding insurance required for the range is being looked into. Note the range will be closed to the public.

The Butler fire department facility desperately needs attention, over the years water damage and corrosion are beginning to take their toll. While the building may need structural work at some point, right now fixing the roof will certainly help. The city currently has one bid for the work and it was decided to gather more bids before making a decision.

Guest Brandon Craft asked the council for permission to partially close Chestnut street directly behind city hall and have a beer garden on June 25th for festivities planned for Remington’s Heart Foundation. Permission granted.

The council also approved a contractual obligation with Kaysinger on a comprehensive plan, details forthcoming on that as well.

Remember the Butler city council meets on the first and third Tuesdays, 7 pm, upstairs at Butler city hall. An elevator is available for those with special needs.

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