Councilman Black instrumental in Banner Bank purchase

Published on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 by Jeremy Schwartz

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At Blaine City Council member Alan Black’s last meeting, council voted unanimously to purchase the Banner Bank building for use as the Blaine’s new city hall.

A fitting tribute for someone whose idea it was to buy the building in the first place.

When Black first came to city manager Gary Tomsic with the idea of moving city hall to the Banner Bank building, Tomsic was initially skeptical the deal would ever go through.

“I thought there was no way this was going to happen,” Tomsic said.

Black kept at it though, and eventually made a presentation to the entire city council detailing the pros and cons of the city purchasing the building. At that point, Black had been a council member for only four months.

“[The purchase] struck me as a positive situation all the way around,” Black said.

Black said the idea came to him after Tomsic gave him a tour of city hall after he was appointed to city council.
Black saw firsthand the mold and water leak problems the current city hall building has and was more than a little disappointed.

Black was familiar with the fourth floor of the Banner Bank building because Habitat for Humanity, a group with which he is active, had held their meetings there. After former Banner Bank building owner Ken Kellar died, the building was put on the market, and Black saw an opportunity for the city to buy it at a good price.

After Black’s city council presentation, minds began to change. Black said his fellow council members and city staff began to realize the city would not soon have another opportunity to purchase a building fit for city hall. Though Black got the ball rolling, he said he is grateful to Tomsic and the other city staff who made the purchasing agreement a reality.

“I have to give Tomsic enormous credit for picking up the ball that I handed to him and running with it,” Black said.