More questions than answers have resulted from a Danbury City Council Committee meeting about the possibility of the City taking ownership of a state-owned old courthouse on Main Street. The state offered to sell the 1899 building to the City for $1.4 million, but Danbury doesn't have the funding. Another suggestion was made by former Congressman Jim Maloney for his nonprofit to apply for a $5 million state economic development grant to buy the building, two adjoining properties, and a building across the street.
Connecticut Community Facility Development Corp. would be leased back to the City long term, requiring only the utilities be paid. The deadline to apply for the grant though is July 25th.
One hold up would be the owner of the home, parking lot and 67 Main Street building not wanting to sell. While Maloney believes they would be amenable, state Representative Ken Gucker says he spoke with the owner and she is not on board. If the grant is approved and the owner refuses to sell, Corporation Counsel Les Pinter explained that the City could get an appraisal, negotiate the value, and condemn the property forcing a sale for the public interest.
Councilman Paul Rotello says he's not comfortable with that.
The outright sale to the City has a September 1st deadline and then the state plans to put the building on the National Register of Historic Places on the market. Danbury could use the space for health department offices, probate court, or the Danbury Museum.
The committee agreed to meet again before July 25th.