City purchasing former north Main car dealership building.

Periodic speculation regarding who will wind up owning the former Murphy Motors building on North Main Street in Hannibal was put to an end Tuesday night when the City Council approved a purchase contract for $220,000.
Money for the purchase from JA Properties, LLC, will come from three city sources - General Fund (45 percent - $99,000), Park Fund (40 percent - $88,000) and Tourism Fund (15 percent - $33,000). The sale should be finalized on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
“Though building demolition and site improvements must still occur, the acquisition itself is a one-time financial obligation,” wrote City Manager Jeff LaGarce in a memo to the Council.
In addition to the purchase price, the city also accepts an estimated sidewalk project assessment of $6,100.
LaGarce provided a number of reasons why it makes sense for the city to own the property at 422 N. Main St.
• Parking for motor coach tour buses.
• Greater flexibility for events at the Y-Men’s Pavilion.
• General downtown parking.
• A venue for some downtown events.
• Greater control of the site’s condition and appeal in the Historic District.
LaGarce noted that the purchase leaves the door open to a resale of the lot in the future.
“This acquisition does not prevent a high-impact business anchor from locating at the north end of Main Street,” wrote the city manager. “If the right project arises, the city may sell the site or portions thereof. In the meantime, the city and public will enjoy tremendous use of this floodwall-protected site.”
In the short term, LaGarce foresees a combination of green space and parking in the area. He also mentioned the possibility of locating an informational kiosk at the site to help guide visitors to restaurants, shops and attractions.
The Murphy Motors building has stood empty since shortly after the dealership was purchased by the Poage corporation in April 2008. The business was relocated to 422 N. Main St. in 1963 from its previous home at Eighth and Church streets.