Vandals damage Deck Motel site

Lisa Depies

Portions of the former Deck Motel will be boarded over following recent vandalism at the site.

Geneseo police chief Tom Piotrowski told the Geneseo City Council said scavengers looking for copper had caused damage primarily to the west end of the property.

“I walked through the Deck with (property owner)?Chris Anderson, and he’s going to secure the building as we see fit,” said Piotrowski.

Anderson plans to demolish the front part of the former motel “in the next month or two,”?but leave the back portion standing.

The rear portion will be converted into a Holiday Inn Express, however Anderson said plans for that conversion have hit a small roadblock.

At a Holiday ?Inn ?Express corporate meeting in Atlanta, concern was expressed by the Holiday Inn? Express owner in LeClaire, Iowa, that a hotel in Geneseo could hurt his businesses.

Anderson said a survey will now be conducted to see if a Holiday Inn Express in Geneseo would have more than a 1 percent occupancy impact on the LeClaire site.

“That could cause a delay of three or four months,” said Anderson.

In the meantime, Anderson is going to board all first-floor windows in the hotel’s back section.

He will also board broken windows in the front section of the hotel, but doesn’t plan to board over every window in that section because demolition is scheduled for the near future.

“I’m mainly concerned with the back section,” said Anderson. “The vandals did a considerable amount of damage, and? I’ve got to protect that section.”

Also at the Geneseo City Council meeting on?Sept. 9, aldermen voted 7-1 to hire Janet Mathis of The Development Consortium to provide economic development services to the city.

Mathis, who lives in Geneseo, has extensive industrial economic development experience, however there was concern that her experience was too limited.

“I have a problem with her sole focus being on industrial development, and not also on retail, commercial and tourism,” said alderman Ed Deener, who cast the lone dissenting vote.

Deener said Mathis will work 10 hours a month and be paid $200 an hour for her work. “Is that going to be the kind of time it takes to get the job done?”?he questioned.

Mathis’ contract will last until the end of the fiscal year, on June 30, 2009.

“It’s a step in the right direction, but I don’t think it’s a long-term solution,” said Chamber of Commerce executive director Rhonda Ludwig. The chamber has long called for a full-time economic director to be hired by the city.

“I ?think we have to start somewhere,” said alderman Curt Spensley.

At the Sept. 9 meeting, the board also:

• Approved Karen Johnson’s request for a certificate of appropriateness for the development of a new drive thru liquor store at the corner of Exchange and Center streets.

• Issued a development permit to First Farm Credit Services for construction of a new building and parking lot at 1303 US Hwy 6.

• Approved the R-2 zoning conditional use of Stackhouse-Moore’s property at 405 W. Main St., as a duplex.

In the spring, Stackhouse-Moore owners David Moore and Vernon Stackhouse had  asked that the site be rezoned as an R-3 property, which would allow the building to be divided into three apartments. That request was denied.

Since that time, the building has been for sale, but Stackhouse told the city council “We’ve tried to sell the building as a single family home, but it’s just too big. It will be best used as a duplex.”

The conditional use approved by the council expires if the building is sold.

• Accepted a bid of $138,869 from Stenstrom Petroleum Service Group for the construction of a city-owned fuel depot.