Municipal staff in Sundridge now have direction from council to investigate what potential properties might be available in the municipality council can purchase.
Council discussed three potential acquisitions at its most recent meeting.
One is the Anderson Windows building, which sits empty on Park Street.
The building is large and has been discussed by council in the past as a building that could be transformed into a Powassan-like 250 Clark, which would house a number of services.
Briefly discussed as another potential acquisition is the Steirerhut Restaurant, which closed earlier this year.
But buying a home on Main Street next to the post office is considered the crown jewel.
Coun. Steve Hicks has been advancing the property acquisition debate and describes the home at 98 Main Street as “a prime piece of property.”
“It's the one where as a municipality we could plant a flag and use it as a way to develop what's going to happen on Main Street in the future,” Hicks said.
Over the decades, many municipalities stopped seeing their respective Main Streets remain a draw for people and steps were needed to reverse this ongoing trend.
Hicks made it clear the intent to buy the Main Street property is not for the house itself because that's not where the value lies.
“My idea is we purchase the building and turn it into a multi-purpose facility with two or three apartments on the second floor and retail or a restaurant on the first floor,” he said.
In other words, the home would be torn down and replaced with a new building.
The property has a large backyard so there would be ample parking to accommodate quite a number of vehicles.
Hicks said considering how real estate has been increasing in value the last two years, he doesn't consider the Main Street purchase a risk for the municipality.
“I don't feel we're rolling the dice,” he said.
“No matter how it goes, we're going to at least make back what we put into it.”
Hicks said the intent of his suggestion was not to create a money-maker for the municipality but rather to start the ball rolling on changing Main Street so it once again becomes a draw for people.
Deputy Mayor Shawn Jackson said there may be an opportunity to acquire the Main Street home at a good price because it has issues and no longer displays a for sale sign.
Jackson said at this stage it's important for council to know if the homeowner still wants to sell the building.
Staff will report back to council in the near future with information on which of the three properties are available for purchase.
Rocco Frangione is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the North Bay Nugget. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.
Rocco Frangione, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The North Bay Nugget