Greencastle Parks and Recreation officials decided Wednesday night to demolish the former Clearwaters Garden Center located at the corner of Bloomington and Tennessee streets next to Robe-Ann Park.
The park board recently purchased the mothballed building and property to make way for more recreation space at the southwest corner of the park.
Park Board President Leslie Hanson said she wants to make up for space that was lost several years ago when the city opted to build a skate park and aquatic center.
"I really want to see those buildings down," Hanson said of the old garden center. "I'd like to replace the greenspace."
The remaining park board members agreed and voted unanimously to allow Parks and Recreation Director Rod Weinschenk to order his staff to begin tearing down parts of the structure as soon as possible.
Weinschenk said the workers will begin by removing the old, wooden greenhouse frames that stand to the south of the main building as well as some other odds and ends that can't be sold at auction.
He said the city will conduct a public auction in the spring. He hopes to be able to sell off various parts of the main building, such as garage doors and windows. Once the auction is complete, the entire structure will be razed and replaced with a grassy lawn and some landscaping.
"When we do it, it'll be this summer or late spring," Weinschenk said.
Before they made their decision to tear down the building, park board members talked about saving it and using it for a community center.
According to a construction estimate provided to the board, it would cost the city about $20,000 to remodel the building, which would include tearing down and replacing a dilapidated portion of the structure, putting a new roof and siding on the outside and installing a mini kitchen and restrooms.
"Yes the building can be saved," Weinschenk told the board. "But the south portion's gonna have to be removed."
The main part of the building includes a concrete slab, which park officials want to save for a future shelter house, however, the second part was added on at a later time and is not salvageable, according to officials.
Park board members agreed that with a tight budget this year and the forecast almost as bleak for next year, they could not afford to remodel the building.
Weinschenk told them it would cost about $2,000 to tear down the building and replace it with greenspace.
Meanwhile, parks and recreation officials are celebrating the recent approval of a state grant that will allow them to construct a walking trail between one of the city's elementary schools with the high school and middle school.
In other business, the park board:
-- Talked about the Safe Routes to School grant recently awarded to the city. The park board will use the money to construct a walking path from Deer Meadow Elementary to connect with Greencastle Middle School and High School.
Weinschenk said he believes the grant requires the city to complete the trail on some sort of timeline, however, he did not know what it was Wednesday night. The completed trail will eventually connect with the future Albin Pond phase of People Pathways, an effort spearheaded by Greencastle resident Joy Marley.
* Talked about making improvements to the small building at Jaycee Park. Weinschenk said he would like to spend about $6,000 to renovate the building, including the installation of a kitchen area, in order to make the building available to rent to the public for special events.
* Voted to allow a list of transfers in the park budget for next year. Weinschenk said the transfers were necessary to bring some areas of the budget into the black after falling into the red earlier in the year.
The Greencastle Park Board meets at 7:30 p.m. on the first Wednesday of each month at city hall.