WOODSTOCK – The city has taken the first step toward gauging interest in the Old Courthouse by drafting a request for proposals.
The 10-page document lays out the city’s goals for the future of the building and the criteria a private owner would need to meet. The city’s plan has been to complete about $2 million of the $4.7 million itself in needed renovations to the decrepit building before selling to a private owner to complete the rest.
But officials have raised questions in recent months as to the likelihood of finding a buyer that meets the city’s requirements and has the funds to finish the building.
Drafting the request for proposals is part of an effort to gauge that interest sooner rather than later, in part because questions about the Courthouse’s future shut the city off from potential funding avenues, officials say.
The request originally was set to go out to the public by October, but Mayor Brian Sager on Tuesday voiced an opinion, and council members agreed, that the city would be better served to take more time at several stages.
The request will go out to the public in January, and submissions will be due at the beginning of May.
“It’s one of those balancing acts where you want to leave a period long enough so people can do all their homework ... but you don’t want it to be an extended period of time where you lose that excitement,” City Manager Roscoe Stelford said.
He added the nature of the building is one that requires businesses to go through a long evaluation period.
But Stelford said he’s optimistic going into the process, and already has fielded a couple of calls about the Courthouse.
“I think there’s going to be some interest in the building,” he said. “We’ve had a couple parties privately approach the city with interest to look at the building and to talk about it.”