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Village of Athens will start remodeling former bank

The Village of Athens is ready to begin renovating the former U.S. Bank building into the new municipal offices and library.

Village of Athens board members on Monday approved for the village to hire Jay’s Drywall for $7,000 to remove the flooring and bank teller stations in the building. Renovation work will start after Memorial Day. The library in the current Village of Athens municipal hall will eventually be remodeled into new handi- cap accessible bathrooms. A ramp will be built going into the adjacent Athens Community Hall.

The Village of Athens purchased the former U.S. Bank building on May 18 for $100,000. Progress Athens, a grassroots organization comprised of Athens residents, was formed in 2021 to fundraise $400,000 to gift the village so it could buy the U.S. Bank building.

Progress Athens reached its fundraising goal in March. The group ended up raising $450,000 that includes the village’s $50,000 match for any private business or individual donations made to Progress Athens by the end of March. Progress Athens will transfer funds it raised to the village as needed for the renovation project.

The village has estimated it will cost $105,000 to remodel the U.S. Bank building and $110,000 to renovate the current library space into handicap bathrooms, but village clerk Lisa Czech said it’s too early to tell if these cost estimates are accurate.

Jessica Frahm, a member of Progress Athens, met with the village of Athens board’s public property committee on May 10 to discuss the project details. She said Progress Athens had begun the second phase of the U.S. Bank renovation project that will include parking lot renovations and a community message board. Frahm said Progress Athens feels the purchase of an elevator is too costly at this time.

The village originally wanted to replace the existing U.S. Bank sign with a comparable sign, but Frahm said community members have expressed to her the importance of a digital message board and she has a few people who would consider donating additional money for this part of the project.

Frahm will also reach out to qualifi ed individuals who have expressed interest in donating labor for the project. In other news:

The village board is giving John Welbes a 30-day extension onto his conditional use permit to give him more time to obtain permits to have a residence in his Athens business.

Village board members voted to award the bid for the village blacktop patching to Jensen & Sons of Medford for $7,814 and the bid for crack sealing to Jensen & Sons for $8,620.

The village board voted to award the bid for curb and gutter and sidewalk replacement to Zilisch Asphalt of Ringle for $8,330.

Village board members agreed to have the village of Athens sell the 2014 Dodge truck outright through a bid.

NEW VILLAGE OF ATHENS BOARD MEMBERS AND PRESIDENT- The village of Athens welcomes three new board members and a new village president, who ran uncontested in the April 4 spring election. Pictured sitting is Randy Decker, new Village of Athens president. Standing, from left to right, are new Village of Athens board members Tyler Socha, Cody Thorson and Taran Brodziski.STAFF PHOTO/CASEY KRAUTKRAMER