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Hancock may take control of run-down building

June 21, 2000|By JOSH POLTILOVE

HANCOCK - The Town Council discussed taking control of the former G.C. Murphy building Wednesday, citing its poor condition and possible benefit to the town under different ownership.

Mayor Dan Murphy said real estate companies have attempted to donate the building to Hancock because of the council's complaints that its run-down condition was creating a haven for "homeless and transient people."

The former department store, abandoned since Feb. 18, 1997, has been the target of complaints from local and county officials as well as offers from the town to purchase the property.

The property, at 42-50 W. Main St., later faced possible condemnation, Murphy said.

"I personally would think we would welcome the idea of selling it to someone who has plans to add to Main Street," Murphy said. "We're not trying to make a heap on it, but we want to turn it into something positive."

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Murphy said the council made several overtures to the previous owners to arrange building improvements, but it received a response only within the past few months.

Now the council will attempt to improve the building.

"We don't want to be in the landlord business," Councilman David D. Smith said. "But as long as we can sell it, I don't have a problem with it."

Public Works already secured some open windows and disengaged an air conditioning unit that had been draining electricity, Murphy said.

Town Manager Lou Close said the building requires much more work, including the possibility of structural improvements.

It also will need plumbing, electrical and fire code upgrades, Close said.

"The building has really been sitting there without any upkeep," Murphy said. "Hopefully now the building will be more of a positive for the town."

The acquisition will be further discussed in a second reading at Hancock's July 12 meeting.

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