Built in 1910, the building was the former home for Heibel Drug Store, the Black Grocery Store, and more recently Rangeline Auto Parts.
In December 1998, the City purchased the tract and the former auto parts building on the property for park purposes from Harold and Paul Hinshaw for approximately $150,000, with monies from the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) fund. During the initial planning of Field Neighborhood Park, Parks and Recreation staff recommended that the building be demolished and a large attractive landscape bed be placed at the corner where the building now sits. The concept was that the park and landscape area would serve as an entryway into both the Columbia College campus and downtown Columbia for those traveling Rangeline from the north.
However, the North Central Columbia Neighborhood Association (NCCNA) expressed interest in keeping the building for a community resource center. The decision to proceed with efforts to preserve the building was arrived at after considering input from residents, businesses, schools and other interested groups using a series of park planning sessions, public hearings, as well as other sources.
The NCCNA partnered with Central Missouri Counties' Human Development Corporation (CMCHDC)* as a conduit for funding and building ownership/lessee. The building on 902 Rangeline was sold to the CMCHDC* for $10 in September 2000 to satisfy grant requirements, and the property where it is situated was leased to CMCHDC* to allow the agency time to raise funds and renovate the building. Renovation was to be completed and a certificate of occupancy was to be issued within five years of the signing of the agreement.
In 2005, the City's Historic Preservation Commission named the building as one of that year's 10 most notable historic properties within the city. Significant interest has since developed in preserving the building as an historic property. When Central Missouri Community Action (formerly CMCHDC) announced in 2008 that their efforts to renovate the building were ceasing, the Commission initiated discussions regarding possible alternatives for raising the necessary funds to preserve the building. The renovation costs were estimated between $200,000 and $250,000.
The original agreement with Central MO Counties' Human Development Corp (CMCHDC) was amended twice, extending the completion deadline September 19, 2006, and subsequently to September 19, 2008. The agreement specified that once the building was renovated, it was to be used as a community center for neighborhood groups, school programs, and other public events.
Unfortunately, efforts by CMCHDC* and the Neighborhood Association to raise the necessary funds to complete the project were unsuccessful. In March of 2008 it was announced that renovation efforts were being suspended. Upon the expiration of the lease, the title to the building was transferred back to the City.
* Now known as Central Missouri Community Action (CMCA)
Discussions between Parks and Recreation staff and the Historic Preservation Commission resulted in a recommendation to the City Council to seek requests for proposals from individuals, firms, or organizations for the renovation and use of the Heibel-March building. An acceptable proposal would preserve the historic integrity of building's exterior and result in a use of the building that would be compatible with the adjacent neighborhood park, elementary school, and other surrounding properties.
Only one proposal was received by the City, which was submitted by First Chance for Children and deemed a viable proposal. The proposal was to use the building as First Chance's main office. In addition to staff offices, the interior would also include a larger conference/meeting room capable of serving functions, such as group training sessions for caregivers, parent networking activities and Board of Director's meetings. First Chance would raise the funds to restore the building while preserving the historical attributes. The organization would also operate and maintain the facility as part of its annual operating budget.
At the February 16, 2009 Council Meeting, the City Council directed staff to negotiate a formal agreement with First Chance for Children.
On October 8, 2009 First Chance officially notified the City that they would not be pursuing the Heibel-March project.
In September 2010 Legacy Construction Group submitted a proposal to the City of Columbia to restore and occupy the building for private commercial use. The proposal could result in the overall restoration of the building, but would include some modifications to the buildling's historic exterior. Legacy’s initial proposal also sought additional land/space from the City to develop parking. Legacy was advised by City staff that that as the land was acquired with federal funds, the use of the land for private parking conflicts with federal regulations and such use should not be considered as a viable option. Legacy confirmed they remain interested in the possible use of the building without the parking option.
As part of their proposal, Legacy requested that the City:
Unfortunately, with June 2011 death of Legacy's founder, Mr. Keith Windham, no further action on this proposal was taken.
Since the summer of 2011, staff has received four or five preliminary inquiries about potential use of the building from private organizations and/or individuals. Staff has provided information about the building and given tours to those wishing to see the building. Only one of those organizations has indicated an interest in submitting a proposal to the City. However, as of May 2012 no proposals have been received.
At the May 17, 2012 meeting of the Parks and Recreation Commission, Commissioner Linda Hutton raised concerns about the dilapidated condition of the Heibel-March building at Field Park. Following a discussion of the issue, Commissioner Hutton made a motion to recommend to the City Council that the demolition of the building proceed if no agreement for its restoration has been entered into by August 1, 2012. The motion was seconded by Commissioner Bill Pauls. The motion passed 7-0.
The Parks and Recreation Department submitted a report regarding the Commission's recommendation for the Council's consideration at the June 4, 2012 Council Meeting. The Commission recommended the demolition of the building proceed if no agreement for its restoration has been entered into by August 1, 2012. Brian Treece, Chair of the Historic Preservation Commission, sent a communication dated May 23, 2012 requesting the Council table any action until the Historic Preservation Commission had opportunity to meet and review the report given to Council at their June 5, 2012 meeting. The Council directed staff to proceed with a request for proposals regarding the use and restoration of the Heibel-March building and for a decision to be made by October 1, 2012.
A request for proposals went out in early August 2012. By the August 31, 2012 RFP deadline, no proposals had been submitted. The Parks and Recreation Department checked with a number of those who had initally expressed interest and learned of at least two organizations that had intended to submit proposals, but had missed the deadline. The City agreed to extend the deadline to September 21, 2012.
Two proposals were received by the extended deadline - Recovery Through Discovery and Grove Construction, LLC.
A review and evaluation of the two proposals received by the City has been completed by City staff, the Historic Preservation Commission, and the Parks and Recreation Commission. A report went to Coucil on December 3, 2012 recommending the Council accept the proposal submitted by Grove Construction, LLC. Council accepted the recommendation of staff and the commissions and directed staff to negotiate an agreement with Grove Construction. Once an agreement is reached, staff will return to Council for their final approval of the agreement. It is estimated that this will occur in the spring of 2013 and be approved in time for Grove Construction to begin their renovation of the building.