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Fiscal court to discuss Sphar building project

The next round of discussions about the Sphar building project is set for today before the Clark County Fiscal Court.

City officials are scheduled to make a presentation to the fiscal court during its regular meeting today in the Clark County Courthouse. Though the building is on North Main Street in the city limits, the county obtained a $500,000 community development block grant to partially fund the project.

A little less than $2 million has been obtained for the project, between grants and pledges, but the latest round of bids significantly exceed the available funds. The low bid is approximately $2.9 million, while the high bid approaches $3.65 million.

A memo presented to the Winchester Board of Commissioners in October offered three options: raise additional funds and proceed as planned, scale the project down to stabilize the structure and forfeit some of the grants, or pay for the design costs so far and walk away.

Winchester City Manager Matt Belcher said previously the building had a couple roof collapses last winter and whether it survives this winter is iffy.

The commissioners wanted to discuss the situation with the fiscal court and the Greater Clark Foundation, which pledged $350,000 for the project, before making a final decision.

The 27,000 square-foot building, constructed in the 1880s, was a seed warehouse, among other uses, along the railroad tracks through downtown Winchester. Plans called for opening a welcome center in the building, moving the offices for Main Street Winchester, the chamber of commerce, tourism commission and industrial development authority there, and possible other uses.

The city purchased the building in 2014 after its previous owners accrued a number of code violations about the property.

About Fred Petke

Fred Petke is a reporter for The Winchester Sun. His beats include cops, courts, fire, public records, city and county government and other news. To contact Fred, email fred.petke@winchestersun.com or call 859-759-0051.

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