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Chamber to tear down its building

After winning a long, hard fight over the ownership of a city building, the Greater Seminole Chamber of Commerce decided to tear down the building and construct a new one.

Instead of spending money on repairs, the chamber's board of directors voted last week to replace their 30-year-old building on 113th Street with either a trailer or a permanent building.

In January, the City Council decided to give the building to the chamber, ending years of debate over a vague lease that did not clearly state whether the city or chamber was required to pay for renovations.

The chamber, which also was given land on 113th Street, expected to spend about $50,000 to repair the small, wooden building.

Since then, chamber president Tim Schuler said he and other officials found out that for an additional $25,000 the building could be demolished and replaced.

"We've ruled out repairing it," Schuler said. "Now, it's a question of whether we can afford what we want."

Chamber officials estimate buying a trailer would cost about $75,000, and constructing a new building would cost about $125,000. The figures include the cost of demolishing the old building.

Schuler said the chamber has about $25,000 in the bank and would take out a loan and raise money for the rest.

The chamber board expects to make a final decision this summer. Schuler said construction would have to start soon after that, before the building deteriorates further.

Already the walls are separating from the ceiling, and cracking and soft spots in the floor are evident. The chamber has closed off part of the building.

The chamber leased the building from the city for a $1 a year for eight years. The land and building, with a combined assessed value of $138,000, did not cost the city any money because they were donated to Seminole for the chamber's use.

_ Anita Kumar, the Times Seminole reporter, can be reached at 445-4160 or by e-mail at