Home > City Council, Community, News > What to do with the Excelsior building?

What to do with the Excelsior building?

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Following a Sunday evening meeting, it appears the Excelsior building will be delayed from going to auction. The building has been a heavy topic for several community members and the City of Guthrie.

Excelsior Library“I’m here to save the building, not the art center,” Bob Bozarth said, who was one of an estimated 40 people in attendance inside First Baptist Church.

A two-story home, located at 323 S. 2nd Street, was built in 1908 and served as the first African-American library in Oklahoma. In 1954, the house was replaced by the current structure and named the Excelsior Library. While the building is not listed as a historic building, it is located in the historic district.

Over the years the building has served as a community center, church, youth center  and party facility. In 1998, the city agreed to allow the Guthrie Arts Council to occupy the building.

The city-owned building has suffered a sagging roof that leaks, structural damage with cracks and a water line brake just this past week forcing city officials to cease all activities inside the building.

City officials entertained ideas to demolish or auction off the building due to ongoing, increased maintenance. In 2013, the city spent approximately $26,000 (excluding labor costs) on utilities and maintenance for the building compared to $14,000-plus combined in 2011-12.

Excelsior CornerstoneThose in attendance showed concern that there was no attempts to notify the black community regarding the matter and wish there had been a different approach to the topic.

“Keep the history and not tear down the building,” state NAACP President Anthony Douglas said.

If a building is appraised for more than $25,000, a vote of the people is required to go to an auction. The city received an appraisal of $24,500.

Now, the group is trying to save the building and will begin a campaign to find solutions.

Mayor Mark Spradlin told the group he will make a suggestion in executive session at Tuesday’s city council meeting to postpone the auction process for 90 days to allow the group more time.

The group plans to have a follow-up meeting at First Baptist Church, located at 401 S. Broad on Sunday, July 13th at 7 p.m and encourage those interested to attend.

Categories: City Council, Community, News
  1. July 1, 2014 at 4:43 pm



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