Cresco debates future of thrift shop - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cresco debates future of thrift shop

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CRESCO (KWWL) -

Diane Kueker is the manager and supervisor of the Country Thrift Store in Cresco. She said the store provides a critical service to the community as an employer.

"These are our people, and this is a place for them to learn, to train, to get back into the work program,” Kueker said. “It's important."

But the future of the store is uncertain, because the property is owned by the city – it’s the old City Hall -- and city officials say they're not getting a fair rate for it.

A 2010 deal means the nonprofit doesn't pay rent at market rates. Instead, they pay only $50 per month for insurance.

"It's been now three years, and we've renewed for another six months,” said Mark Bohle, Cresco Mayor. “We can't continue renting below market rates."

The mayor said the property is valued at about $170,000, but the city doesn't think they can get that in the current market. So one plan is to put it up for public auction.

Bohle said the city has nothing against the thrift shop, but they arena’t allowed to gift them the property. They are only allowed to give property to other government bodies.

The other option is to give the building to Howard County, which might be allowed to gift it back to the current tenants.

On Monday, the Cresco City Council had an open meeting to hear the community’s thoughts on the move.

After hearing a variety of opinions, most voicing support for the work the shop does, they voted to gift it to Howard County, pending a deed and contract.

But either way, Kueker said her organization plans to soldier on.

“Our board is very, very strong on wanting to stay in this community,” she said. “It is our community. All the board members come from every corner of Howard County, and so the community is ­­us."

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