The council approved a resolution to raze and remove the former Sand Bar restaurant at Sandy Beach in a 4 to 1 vote Tuesday, Jan. 21. Council member Vicki Schmidt cast the lone no vote.
The city took ownership of the restaurant at Sandy Beach, formerly known as Pier Four, in 1977, after it was put up for sale by Lings Foods, Inc. The property was formerly owned by Milton Strauss and known as Sandy Beach Resort.
Before the city finished its purchase of the restaurant it had a fire which did some major damage.
“It was repaired, and it was determined it was usable for a restaurant,” said City Manager Steve Wilke.
The restaurant was leased to Morry Moore for five years then Patrick Frank, who was forced to surrender his lease early.
The building sat vacant from 1987-88 and then Bob Hein leased the building and opened the Sand Bar and eventually the lease was transferred to Jonathan Hering in 1993. Hering told the Leader in September 2019 would be their last season.
“We had multiple inspections starting in 2014 to 2018. All of the inspectors recommended there be a substantial amount of work done to the site,” Wilke said. “At this point in time the structural problems with the building are to the point where a remodel would be as much as tearing it down and restarting.”
The existing structure was most likely built in the 1930s and has gone through at least one fire. According to a memo by Wilke, the condition of the building has been an issue since the city purchased it.
“Razing the existing building, in my opinion, is the best option,” he said at the meeting.
The council has said it would like to see another restaurant at the site but hasn’t yet specified what that would look like.
The idea of food trucks came up at the meeting while there is no restaurant at the beach.
“We are not quite there yet. We (city staff) would like to have a few more conversations about it,” Wilke said.
The building contains asbestos, which will be an issue the city has to deal with before demolition. Decisions on the bait shack also have to be made.
“It would take so much money to bring that up to code,” said Diann Hosp Fritsch, council president.
Vickie Schmidt, council member, made a motion to table the resolution saying the timeline to demolish wasn’t discussed in open session. The motion failed to get a second.
“I think it needs to be raised and then we can decide what we need to do from there,” Hosp Fritsch said.
In other business the council:
— Recognized Carolyn Wey on her retirement from the L.D. Fargo Public Library.
— Had the second reading of an ordinance for amending city electrical code.