County Board approves purchase of Franklin St. Mall
DECATUR—It used to serve as the de facto hot spot downtown Decatur, but it appears that the former mall at 304 S. Franklin in downtown Decatur is on its last legs.
On Thursday night the Macon County Board approved the purchase of the building from the Chiligiris Family for approximately $220,000 in order to turn it into extra parking for the Law Enforcement Center.
“I think this is a good purchase for the county,” County Board Chairman Jay Dunn said.
The demolition of the building would open up roughly 90 parking spots that will be used by law enforcement officers as well as public parking for citizens who need to access the law enforcement center.
“There are about 45 employees at the law enforcement center and about 40 or so citizens who need to report to probation on a daily basis so the 90 spots would work nicely for them,” Dunn added. He also says they might open up parking to people visiting friends or family who are in the jail.
Dunn says the county will begin the bidding process for a company to proceed with the demolition of the building as soon as next week.
The 36,660 square foot building was in use as recently as 2008 when it housed several retailers. Dunn says most of them began to leave when the site was seen as an option for the new law enforcement center and they couldn’t find anybody to come back.
There is no timetable set for when the building will get demolished, but Dunn says it could happen as early as this spring with the parking lot going in shortly after.
In other news, Macon County Highway Department snow plow operator was honored with an award for his efforts in saving a man’s life last month. In late January, during one of the coldest weeks in Illinois history, 8 year plow veteran Zach Page rescued Robert Lee Edwards after he noticed his car on the side of the road on Rt. 51. When Page reached the car, Edwards was in bad shape and showing the early signs of hypothermia. Page pulled the man out of his vehicle and took him to a gas station where he warmed up and called for help.