By a vote of 71 to 7, Baileys Harbor residents voted last night to allow the town to purchase property downtown.
The property of interest is 8061 State Hwy 57 – currently The Red Geranium, and formerly home to local conservationist Emma Toft.
Red Geranium owners Kathy and Walter Vail want to sell the property and move the store to a smaller, rental location, and approached the town board to see if the supervisors would be interested in purchasing the property.
The building was built in 1868, and is appraised at $173,000. The town could use it as a visitor center, museum and home for the Baileys Harbor Historical Society.
“This is one of the last few opportunities we have to buy a historic piece of property to put our historical society in,” Kevin Egan, former Baileys Harbor plan commission chair, said at the meeting. “I’ve been here since I was a little kid and I keep hearing us say ‘no, we can’t do it.’ We’re running out of the opportunities. We have the money, we’re in a good financial situation due to our town board. Again, this is a no-brainer.”
Some residents were concerned about taking property off of the town tax roll, voiced preference for other property and paying to keep up the building.