Claiming the public has demanded action, the Glenrock Town Council Monday voted to finalize a six-year effort to remove what they are calling a pair of public eyesores – two dilapidated, unused motels and the surrounding property.
After much public outcry about the unsightly view of the All American Inn at 500 West Aspen St. and the Glenrock Motel at 108 South 3rd St., both of which have been vacant for more than a decade, the town began proceedings six years ago to force owner Jan Charles Gray to clean up or tear down the unused hotels. Gray, to date, has refused.
After years of repeated warnings and legal petitions, however, it appears that the town has finally come up with a solution – at a cost to taxpayers of as much as $500,000. The council intends to buy the properties, demolish the buildings, clean up the area, then resell the land to businesses for redevelopment.
The two motel properties, as well as the railroad right-of-way behind the All American Inn and land located in the area of South 5th Street described in the purchase agreement as the “old lumber yard,” is on the purchase agreement the council and mayor unanimously approved Monday evening.
The purchase agreement for the four properties totals $300,000, the council said, with the additional cost of removing the unusable buildings and cleaning the properties coming in at an estimated $150,000. Whatever the town can recoup from reselling the shovelready land in the end would help offset some of the cost, Mayor Doug Frank said. The money would come out of the town’s general fund reserve account.
He described the purchase as the best outcome for cleaning up these areas of town, claiming that not only are they an eyesore, but they are hazardous properties.
“We don’t seek to be landlords, we are seeking to solve a problem,” Frank said Tuesday.
The alternative to the purchase could be a potentially lengthy legal battle with Gray over the demolition, he added, leaving the town to deal with motels that could continue to fall apart for years to come.
“Not only do we get rid of the buildings, but then we have control of the land to sell to businesses that use it productively,” Frank said.
“We get the added benefit of saving time and money (from not pursuing) the legal battle (and using it) for demolition, and we have a say in how the land will be used after cleanup,” Frank said.
The mayor doesn’t want the town to keep the land after the cleanup, but wants to sell the property and recoup the investment as quickly as possible.
With so few commercial properties listed in Glenrock, it is difficult to say if the $300,000 price tag on the properties is in line with market value, but the appraisal of the properties will be the final say of their current value he explained. It’s unknown if reselling the land will turn a profit for the town, but, according to Frank, turning a profit is secondary to ridding the hazardous structures and opening up properties for development.
He said the Glenrock Police Department responds frequently to the motels, so it is a concern that someone may be injured some day.