Motivated to put the public health department in a more easily accessible location, the Page County Board of Supervisors offered $92,500 for what is known as the education building of the former First United Methodist Church in Clarinda.
“We need to relocate public health for their operation,” said Supervisor Chuck Morris during the Wednesday, Aug. 28 meeting. “We were informed a building was available at a reasonable price. It has lots of potential for public health and other operations.”
First United Methodist Church moved to its new building in 2017 on West State Street. Church officials sold the church and education building in the 200 block of West Washington Street to Joe and Emily Akers in 2018. According to county records, the formal address of the building is 210 N. 17th St.
The church was destroyed but the education building remained because of its use by a daycare. A residential home on the property was not included in the county’s offer.
Supervisors expect to continue the negotiations during its regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday, Sept. 3.
“It’s a rock, solid building,” said Supervisor Alan Armstrong.
The building measures about 4,190 square feet on each of the two stories. Supervisors walked through the building Tuesday, Aug. 27, and said they did not notice any obvious needs.
“I didn’t see a crack in the walls and the floors are good,” said Supervisor Jon Herzberg.
Morris said he was informed the building has had minor water damage, believed to have been caused by a faulty window. The window has since been replaced.
Armstrong said he prefers a formal inspection of the entire building.
Morris said he does not want the offer, or possible ownership of the building by the county, to interfere with the daycare.
“I would hate to disrupt 30 families with kids,” he said. Morris said the daycare only uses three rooms in the building. “We can continue with the daycare.”
When the church used the building, it was the location for Sunday School classes, church offices and a food bank.
Page County Public Health moved in 2015 from a leased building in Shenandoah to the third story of the courthouse. Since then, supervisors and public health representatives have said the third story may not be the most accessible place for clients.
Department administrator Jessica Erdman told the supervisors Tuesday the third-story location is small and not conducive for privacy. Staff has been occasionally told by people they didn’t know where public health was located.
For about the past two years, supervisors have been attempting to have all county departments in county-owned buildings. The county attorney’s office moved into the courthouse earlier this year from a leased building in Clarinda.
Supervisors have proposed two buildings for secondary roads, both to be built on the secondary roads complex in Clarinda. One is an office building for County Engineer J.D. King. His office is in the 100 block of West Washington in Clarinda.
The other proposal is a storage garage. The county rejected two bids for the office building this week because the bids were about $200,000 more than desired. Supervisors budgeted a total of $625,000 for both buildings.
Supervisors declined to comment how the church building offer affects the new construction proposals.