A chairman of Drives LLC has announced the donation of a vacant office building to the city of Fulton, where the manufacturing company is headquartered.
The Fulton City Council made an initial vote last week on the donation of the vacant building, located downtown near the Fulton windmill and Windmill Cultural Center at First Street and 10th Avenue.
Fulton Mayor Larry Russell said the city is in the midst of a downtown planning session, with the goal including finding a use for another vacant building, the former fire station at Fourth Street and 10th Avenue.
Russell said his hope is for the Drives building to stay on the city taxroll as a private business, possibly to be used as a restaurant or for housing.
“It’s a great opportunity for the city,” said Russell.
Russell said he hopes to see both the Drives building and the former fire station used to prepare the city for an expected influx of families with the planned development of the Thomson, Ill., prison.
The mayor said he anticipates the city council will take resident input on plans for the Drives building. The council will vote on the final paperwork for the donation agreement at a future meeting.
Drives recently vacated the donated building after moving all of its employees and departments to its manufacturing complex on 19th Avenue. The building served as the industrial chain manufacturer’s headquarters for several decades, and was once used as a community gathering center.
According to a press release from Drives Chairman Dave Vogel, the company is donating the building to complement windmill activities, or to otherwise boost tourism and economic development in Fulton.
The company has previously donated two parcels of land to the city, one of them for a park along the riverfront near the former office building and the other for a baseball park at the southern edge of Fulton.
“It’s our way of saying thanks to the ‘hometown’ of our worldwide headquarters for more than 50 years,” Vogel stated.