MARSHALL - They had two bid proposals, one from the Lyon County Historical Society, and one from Marshall Public Schools. But in deciding the fate of the former Marshall-Lyon County Library building downtown, a majority of the Marshall City Council members went for a third option.
At their regular meeting Tuesday night, council members voted 5-2 in favor of accepting $100,000 from Lyon County to buy the vacant building and turn it into a permanent home for the Lyon County Museum.
Marshall Superintendent Klint Willert said it was "disappointing" that the council decided to accept an offer that wasn't part of the bid process for the library building. However, he said, he was happy that council members seemed willing to help find opportunities for the district to relocate its alternative school.
Earlier this month, the council considered finalist bid proposals for the old library, submitted by the historical society and the school district. The historical society offered either $1 or $25,000 to buy the building and use it for the county museum. The school district offered $100,000 to convert it into space for the alternative school. Marshall East Campus Learning Alternatives is currently leasing space in the Market Street Mall.
While the city council took some time to consider the proposals, Lyon County commissioners made their own proposal of buying the library for $100,000. While Commissioner Mark Goodenow said Tuesday that the offer was "a little late to the party," he said it made sense. When the historical society needs funds for building maintenance, it will likely turn to the county for funding.
Willert said the council shouldn't consider the offer, as it wasn't part of the bidding process.
"The district would ask that the city honor the process," Willert said. Marshall Schools could be more aggressive in their offer, he said, "But the school board doesn't think a bidding war is appropriate."
If the council accepted the county's offer, Willert said, the school district would ask to be refunded the cost of putting together a bid proposal.
Council member Mike Boedigheimer said the city had the right to reject bids it received for the library building.
"It's re-doing an offer," council member Charlie Sanow said of the situation.
Council members disagreed on whether the alternative school would be a good fit in Marshall's downtown business area. But some said the city should commit to finding the alternative school a new home, as well as the museum.
Boedigheimer moved to accept the county's offer for the old library, with the understanding that it will be turned over to the historical society. The motion did not include proposal reimbursements for the school district, he said.
The council voted 5-2 in favor of the motion, with Sanow and council member Jennie Hulsizer voting against.
A large crowd of area residents were in the audience at Tuesday's meeting. After the council made its decision, there was some applause from supporters of the historical society.
After the vote, Boedigheimer said he thought the city should also earmark funds from the sale of the library to help get a new location for MECLA. Marshall Mayor Bob Byrnes cautioned that the city would have to look into previous bond agreements on the property before making that motion.
"It was disappointing that the original (bid) process wasn't honored," Willert said after the vote. However, he added, "It's encouraging how the city is willing to help find a positive solution."