"Granite City, We Paid For It"
by NeedSomeAnswers

I want to preface this
"You Have The Floor" submission by referencing a recent article
in St. Louis Today's Illinois section.

The article is below.

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Former restaurant leveled; business relocation planned

No more Pontoon Road pancakes in Granite City

"Forget getting flapjacks at Pontoon and Nameoki roads.

Crews have torn down a dilapidated building on the corner that once housed an
International House of Pancakes and other breakfast spots.

Randy and Sandy Heuser bought the property and plan to construct a new structure
for their business, Bi-State Glass Coatings.

"We've always been Granite City residents and knew this was probably where we were going to be,"
said Sandy Heuser. "We just felt it was time to move forward, and get more visibility."

The window-tinting business had been based at the couple's home in the
2100 block of St. Clair Avenue. The company has five employees. It was founded in 1987.

The Heusers bought the property for $14,900 from the city, which purchased it for
$216,000 in 2005. The city acquired the building and surrounding land to prepare for the
construction of a new overpass on Pontoon Road.

International House of Pancakes operated in the building for about 30 years. It later housed
restaurants Smiley's and Golden Pancake.

City Economic Development Director Jon Ferry said the structure was later gutted by
scavengers. Selling the property saved the city the cost of demolishing the property, he said.

Randy Heuser said they'll start looking at building designs in the spring; she didn't know when
construction will start.

"It's a drawn-out process," he said. "You have to do a lot of planning and developing, but hopefully in
the next year we're going to be constructing the building."

One option is to lease a portion of the structure.

"It just depends on what the architect says," he said."

Contact reporter Scott Cousins at 618-344-0264, ext. 113

.Posted in News on Monday, November 15, 2010 12:00 am Updated: 11:29 am. | Tags: Granite City Il,
Madison County, Business, Economy,

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There is so much wrong with this, I do not know where to begin.

I think I will start with  our City's Economic Development Director, Mr. Jon Ferry.

Where in the world did Mr. Ferry come from?
What qualifications does he possess that put him in this position?
What, if any, experience does he have to be in this position?
What exorbitant salary are we, as tax payers, paying him, especially in light
of a blunder so enormous, it has cost our city over two hundred thousand dollars?

Mr. Ferry's quote....
"The Heusers bought the property for $14,900 from the city, which purchased it for
$216,000 in 2005. The city acquired the building and surrounding land to prepare for the
construction of a new overpass on Pontoon Road"

might lead some citizens to believe that a huge parcel or tract of land that was adjacent
to the old IHOP building was required for the overpass.  Evidently not too much land was
required to facilitate the overpass as O'Briens remains, as well as, the service station, and
Hooch & 16's property remains, basically unscathed.
But most importantly of all, the old IHOP building managed to remain basically as it
was prior to the overpass.

This sad attempt at justifying the sale of this lot, a lot on a major, highly traveled intersection
for a mere pittance of its worth, is just that, a sad attempt.

An investment of $216,000 cost our city a loss in an amount over
$200,000?
And we as citizens should be okay with this?

I am NOT okay with this, and wonder how Mr. Ferry's next quote can even be
taken seriously....

"Selling the property saved the city the cost of demolishing the property"

Is this a serious statement?  His pathetic attempt at trying to put a positive
spin on the sale of this property is reprehensible.

Do us a favor Mr. Ferry, and don't do us any more favors,
especially if you are trying to make the decision to sell this property
for pennies look like a positive move for our city, FOR MY CITY.

As a life long resident of this community, I pray everyone
who reads this joins with me to ask the following questions of our city's leaders:

1.  Why does Mr. Jon Ferry remain in the tax payer's employ?
How can he possibly still have a job as our Economic Development Director after such
a ridiculous move?

2.  Is anyone else as upset as I am, for it to be assumed that
the great people of Granite City are too damned stupid not to be appalled by
this decision, too ignorant to question it, or to think "what a great move"?

3.  Was the decision to sell this property for $14,900 Mr. Ferry's decision alone?
And if so, why?  
And if not, who approved it?
Was this a committee decision or a city council decision?  

4.  Was this property advertised to the public at this selling price, and if so, where?
And if not, WHY?

5.  As Economic Development Director for our city, did Mr. Ferry
make any effort whatsoever to contact any other retail or restaurant establishments or development
companies offering them this property for a song ($14,900) if they chose to build in Granite City?

This selling price was no more than any empty lot zoned (residential) in most areas.  
Why not actually do the research and try to negotiate a deal with a developer that is looking for a
prime (high traffic flow) commercial property, if for nothing else but to try to recover
the monies the city paid for this lot in the first place.  ($216,000)

Did he or anyone do the research on this property such as traffic flow count
( a huge selling point to any developer).  

There are so many possibilities for commercial property or lots, especially one with a prime location
such as this particular lot.  Just the fast food possibilities alone are staggering, as well as
a Dunkin' Doughnuts, Crispy Creme, Old Navy, etc.

6.  Were the roof shingles from the old building taken off by the city or by the new owner?  
If by the city, were they sold for scrap and for how much?
If not by the city for the city, nor by the new owner for the new owner,
then by and for who?

7.  Is anyone disappointed that our mayor, who once seemed so committed
to rebuilding our community, allowed such an asinine move by someone being paid to protect
the citizen's best interest?

I am sure there are others who might have more questions that I missed here.

Ask them now!  Before election time rolls around!

After all Granite City, we paid for it!