After a nearly year-long venture to get a historic church sold at a reduced price that would keep the building intact, but moved to another location, the City of Oakdale finally found a buyer.
City Manager Bryan Whitemyer announced earlier this month that Realtor Denise Cash, on behalf of Allen and Paula Martin, agreed to purchase the church for $1 and relocate it to a vacant lot that they had purchased at the southwest corner of First Avenue and Walnut Street.
Their plan is to refurbish the church and convert it into a residence.
The 121-year-old church, formerly the United Brethren Church, is currently located on the northwest corner of North Third Avenue and East E Street. The city had hoped an interested party would have taken ownership in the building to refurbish it but no interest was shown.
Whitemyer said the city does not have the resources to rehabilitate the building.
When no interest was shown for restoration, the city council in May of last year approved listing the church building for sale for $1 to an individual or business who would be able to relocate the structure from its current site.
This option would provide the opportunity to preserve the building but also free up space at the corner of Third Avenue and E Street for public parking that officials feel is needed in the downtown core.
Whitemyer described the transaction as a “win-win” and believes moving the church building to the vacant lot on Walnut Street and First Avenue is in the best interest of the community.
“First, the proposal will keep the historic church building in Oakdale, secondly, it will be remodeled and renovated so that it can once again be a positive visual asset to the community, and thirdly, the change in location will allow the city to convert the current site of the church into additional parking that is desperately needed for downtown businesses,” Whitemyer explained.
Because moving the building is an extremely expensive endeavor, and because the rehabilitation of the structure will require a substantial investment, the buyer. requested that the city waive its building permit fees and inspection fees to help make this project viable.
City staff reviewed the request and believed that it was in the best interest of the community to relocate and preserve the building and recommended that the city council approve a waiver of building permit fees and inspection fees.
Officials said the waiver of fees would amount to less than $5,000.
During the announcement, Cash said Allen Martin is a general contractor and has built custom homes for over 35 years. Martin has a design to convert the church into a residence at the new location.
Plans call for adding approximately 800 sq. feet of living space, which includes a master bedroom and bath and an additional bedroom on the first floor. The attic storage area will become the third bedroom.
When completed the home will be approximately 2300 sq. feet.