Huntsville Mayor Darrell Trahan wants to sell a 99-year-old building he had hoped to turn into a Madison County museum.
Huntsville voters rejected a proposal in 2013 to use part of a new sales tax for a museum, and Trahan has been unable to get any grants to renovate the old Basham Ford building on the downtown square.
"I have applied for everything that has come available for the last three years," Trahan said. "I got nothing. I never got a penny. I'm three and a half years into a four-year term, and I own the ugliest building on the square."
The city of Huntsville actually owns the building, which is at the corner of War Eagle and Harris streets.
The city paid $210,000 for the building and 1.8 acres in 2013 and still owes $115,200 on it, Trahan said.
The mayor said he was approached by Doyle Frick and Lori Reynolds about buying the building so they could put a restaurant in it.
The couple had operated Lori's Main Street Cafe on the Huntsville square, and they own Fricksters Steakhouse and Lori's Mocha Madness at the Springdale Municipal Airport, Trahan said.
Trahan took the proposal to the Huntsville City Council, which voted unanimously last week to let him sell the building for the amount owed on it.
Under the plan, the city would keep some of the property that came with the building in 2013, including a parking lot and metal storage building. Trahan said he wanted to keep part of the real estate behind the Basham building to build a splash pad water park for children.
Trahan said he should know for sure in a couple of weeks if Frick and Reynolds are going to buy the building.
Frick and Reynolds were on vacation Friday.
"I truly am hopeful that it all works out," Reynolds said in a private message through Facebook.
Trahan said he desperately wants a county museum, but his focus now is trying to develop an industrial park to increase city revenue.
The Basham Ford building is one of the oldest structures on the square because many of the historic wood-frame buildings were destroyed by fire over the past century. The Basham building was constructed of limestone.
Trahan said the Ford dealership was only open for a few years. For most of the 20th century, the building served as Basham Motor & Tire Co., where repair work was done and tires were sold.
Metro on 08/20/2018
Print Headline: Huntsville mayor ready to sell 99-year-old building downtown