By DAVID GREEN
Fayette was left with a vacant downtown building when Huntington bank closed dozens of branch offices across the state in December. But on the bright side, the community will see another vacant building come back to life when Sherwood State Bank renovates a downtown structure for its new Fayette office.
After considering several locations—both for new construction and for renovation—the bank board settled on renovating the former Red and White grocery building located adjacent to the village office. (The structure has had several uses over the decades—see story below).
The Sherwood State Bank administration has worked with a bank-specific site consultant for help in choosing the best location.
"Multiple sites were considered, including a vacant lot, a building which needed razed in order to build new, and the use of an available downtown building,” said Sherwood State Bank president Mickey Schwarzbek. "The process has taken longer than expected with the number of options, parking and traffic pattern concerns. In a normal situation, the process could take about one month. In this case, it has taken three months."
Original plans called for opening the new facility by early fall, but the timeline has now changed to late in the fourth quarter.
"We want to get there as soon as we can," Schwarzbek said.
The bank has a purchase agreement to buy the building at 121 W. Main St. from Don and Jane Stiriz. The vacant lot next to Fayette Hardware will also be acquired and used for a drive-up facility and parking. The west half of the upper story is owned by the Village of Fayette and is used for storage. The bank will take possession of the east half, but the space will not be used.
"As a small, community bank, anytime we can use an existing downtown building, we prefer to do so," Schwarzbek said. "This building has a unique design and characteristics which I, myself, found attractive, as well as the consultant. I have many ideas to aid in maintaining a strong downtown in Fayette."