by Michael R. Allen
Over the weekend, the Belleville News-Democrat carried a story by Laura Girresch entitled “The old YMCA building: Is it worth saving or will it be a money pit?”. Title aside, the article reports that St. Clair County Historical Society member Larry Betz’ proposal to turn the former Belleville YMCA into the Belleville Arts and Cultural Center is gaining traction.
Belleville officials are hopeful that Betz’ plan can come to fruition. A lot of work lies ahead but the city government’s attitude now seems firmly supportive of preservation. One of the issues ahead: how to fund mothballing the building as Betz raises money for the center.
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[…] How the City Council came to vote away the sales and property tax revenues the building might generate in the future is uncertain. Using a loan, the city purchased the occupied building for $487,500 in February when the Diocese placed the building for sale. The sale generated some raised eyebrows in light of how the city of Belleville has cited lack of funds as a reason for not assisting the effort to save the former Belleville Turner Hall. […]