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$82,500 in city funds left for Elks Building renovation in Dickinson

Press File Photo For two years windows painted with the same winter holiday scene have filled the Elks Building in downtown Dickinson. The city is giving owner Granville Brinkman until the end of June to complete a renovation, before they may pull $82,500 in funds.

Dickinson may take a different route to provide up to $82,500 in remaining funds to restore the historic Elks Building, commissioners said at a meeting at City Hall Monday.

The sound of hammers and welders had been absent from the building for nearly a year before construction began in January.

Granville Brinkman purchased the building from the city in 2005. He was to complete renovations, but a 2007 fire caused delays. The city has given Brinkman five extensions, but he has yet to finish construction.

Brinkman's company, New Care Construction of Tacoma, Wash., was also involved in a lawsuit regarding the fire at the Elks Building. The lawsuit was settled out of court late last year for an undisclosed amount.

The building has about $1.5 million in mortgages and liens of more than $700,000, Mayor Dennis Johnson said in November.

"When the city first put this project together several years ago it allocated dollars to actually demolish the building," City Administrator Shawn Kessel said. "Then the developer came in and some of those dollars were used on the building itself, and some were reserved for streetscaping."

The city allocated $150,000 for the project when Brinkman first presented it to the commission, Kessel said. The $82,500 is what is left of those funds.

"We thought it was in our best interest to have an agreement to supervise the flow of those dollars," Kessel said.

Kessel presented an agreement to the commission that would require Dickinson Elks LLC to provide plans for improvements. The company may submit receipts to the city and may be reimbursed, according to the agreement.

The agreement also requires all approved streetscape improvements to be complete by June 30. If the deadline is not met, the city may rescind any funds set aside and use that money for other projects.

"I think it's time that a line in the sand has been drawn on this," Commissioner Carson Steiner said.

Brinkman insists that the project will be completed in June, Kessel said. Johnson has his doubts.

"Here we are. It's the first of April, so you have essentially three months left to complete this building," he said. "That's not a lot of time in construction. There's a lot of work to be done. I think there is a reasonable chance it will not be completed by June 30."

The agreement should appear on the agenda in two weeks to be voted on by the commission.

Brinkman was not at the meeting and was not available for comment.