Vacant Legends Bar and Grill building will stay for now
(ABC 6 News) – The Rochester City Council voted 5 to 2 to override Mayor Kim Norton’s veto regarding plans for the Legends Bar and Grill building Monday night.
Councilmember Kelly Rae Kirkpatrick thinks it would be a win-win to keep it.
The city purchased the building a few years back with the intent to demolish it and redevelop the riverfront.
"Things have changed off and on since then but the concept of that building being demolished has always been in the works," Rochester Mayor Kim Norton said.
The council voted to keep it standing for six months to see if anyone comes up with a good idea to reuse the building.
Councilmember Patrick Keane says he thinks the building will likely be demolished if someone doesn’t come forward with a useful plan by next spring.
"You have to differentiate between things being historic versus them being nostalgic," Keane said.
Mayor Norton says any building can be saved with enough funding and incentive.
"I was just surprised that the next action that when we discussed this was to keep it standing because that’s never been what was the understanding or what I’ve been saying," Norton said.
She says she would rather spend money on buildings that qualify as historically significant.
"It’s got history for our culture, for our city, but also it’s one of only two depression-era buildings that are here that were intended for retail use. We don’t have any of that other architecture here in town," Councilmember Kirkpatrick said.
Keane says since it can’t be rebuilt, he was with the majority to keep it standing.
"With demolition being so final, I wanted to leave it stand," he said.
One of Mayor Norton’s points is that we are spending additional tax dollars to keep a building up that isn’t being used.
"I think we could all pop in less than a quarter to hang onto this building for the wintertime," Kirkpatrick said. She says the cost for Rochester residents in property taxes is only 16 cents per person if the building were to remain intact and vacant.