Business will remodel former Alcott School

GREG LOWER

The former Alcott Elementary School will enter a new phase as a funeral home as a result of Monday’s Chanute City Commission Meeting.

New owner Chad Wickham of Wickham Family Funeral Home said New Life United Brethren Church is selling the building at 500 N. Forest due to plans to downsize because of declining attendance. Wickham had planned to construct a new building, but said since the COVID-19 pandemic, construction costs have skyrocketed and builders are booked up for more than a year in advance.

Commissioners Phil Chaney and Tim Fairchild both said they attended Alcott Elementary. Wickham said he planned to renovate the interior, and the gym has already been redone as a chapel.

The commission approved both the rezoning and a special use permit to allow the change.

In other business, the commission made only one change in its reorganization. Commissioner Sam Budreau nominated incumbent Mayor Jacob LaRue and Vice-Mayor Tim Fairchild for the same positions, mentioning continuity during the pandemic. They were elected without opposition and the only change was for Budreau to take LaRue’s position on the Chanute Housing Authority board.

Currently, Fairchild works with the CRDA Land Bank Board and Depot Management Committee. Chaney works with the Chanute Recreation Commission, Revolving Loan Fund Committee, and Downtown Revitalization Committee, and Commissioner Kevin Berthot works with the Airport Advisory Committee, Parks Advisory Board and Tourism Committee. Budreau also works with the Golf Course Advisory Committee, while LaRue works with the Planning Commission and as mayor on the Library Board, although the Mayor and Vice-Mayor serve on the Economic Development Committee and Chanute Main Street Board.

The commission heard no comments during the public comments, nor at two public hearings. One hearing was to close out a $700,000 grant for sewer line repairs and the other was for $132,000 in pandemic economic assistance that helped Binge Boutique, 21st Century Entertainment, Consignment, Midwest Connections and Playmakers to retain 32 3/4 full-time jobs.

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