GENESEO – The owner of the Kelly’s Saloon building stepped in front of the Geneseo Village Board Monday night for a tense exchange over the future of the burned-out building.
Steve Burnette, who owns the now condemned structure and rented out the first floor of the building to Kelly’s Saloon and maintained apartments on the second floor, expressly laid out concerns over rumors that members of the Village Board having decided what should be rebuilt on the Kelly’s foundation by trying to influence who purchases the plot.
“Kelly’s demo is supposed to take place this week. It’s been supposed to take place three or four times now, and there’s a rumor going around town that members of this board are going do anything they they can to prevent Kelly’s from coming back,” said Burnette. “I’m knocking on the door of 70, and I don’t want to rebuild anything there, I just want to sell it to the highest bidder, and right now Kelly’s is the highest bidder. I know there has been quite a bit of flak from people present in this room, and I would be very disappointed to hear that someone on the board was trying to block Kelly’s from coming back.”
The Village Board strongly denied having any conversations among themselves about the future of the Kelly’s building, and added that they do not concern themselves with the businesses that move into the Village.
“We don’t get into what people want to do. Look how many auto parts stores we have,” said Deputy Mayor Sandra Brennan. “When someone approaches us and says ‘we want to open an auto parts store’ we just kind of sit back and let whatever happens happen. We don’t do anything one way or the other no matter what you want to put in there.”
Geneseo Village Mayor Richard Hatheway apparently wants to completely stay out of whatever future business occupies 71 Main Street, re-iterating that the Village Board has not discussed what type of business will go into the rebuilt space.
Burnette wasn’t finished and continued to stand firmly behind Kelly’s Saloon and patrons.
“As far as I’m concerned, every town needs a Kelly’s,” said Burnette. “I’ve seen people in there with everything from tuxedoes to no clothes at all, but most of the people who go there are people who work, come there, have a couple drinks, go home and go to work again.”
Two additional concerns were raised by the neighboring tenants of the Kelly’s building: what will cover the hole after the building is leveled, and what safety measures will be in place during demolition in case neighboring buildings are structurally compromised.
Apparently, Village Street Superintendent Jason Frazier will determine the site’s security and appearance after demolition.
Mayor Hatheway left the safety for the neighboring buildings entirely in the hands of the hired contractor, Empire Wrecking, who will be handling demolition.
According to Burnette, he was told by Randy Fuller that there is no danger of either neighboring wall falling, and that it would be safe for the neighboring buildings to be occupied during demolition.
“The Village board doesn’t need to take part in that conversation,” stated Mayor Hatheway. “That can take place privately.”