(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) On a split vote, St. Joseph's city council Monday night approved the sale of the downtown Open Door Food Kitchen building to a private developer.
The sale to local businessman Rick Gilmore for $76,000 did not come without concerns.
While Gilmore posted the highest offer for the property on 5th and Edmond St., some at the meeting wanted the council to reconsider an offer made by the owner of Magoon's Famous Delicatessen.
Barry Woodhull pleaded with the council to sell the facility to him. He said he is being run out of business by the large amount of homeless loitering near his bar and restaurant on South 8th St. He said the problem has only become worse as the nearby Crossing shelter recently expanded its services to the homeless and will continue to deteriorate after the new Open Door Food Kitchen also opens nearby.
"The city has helped to create a homeless campus between 7th and 9th Streets making Magoon's the epicenter of the homelessness," he said. "It wears on you mentally to be drowning in it 24 hours a day. The homeless are constantly trying to enter my business trying to buy booze and trash my bathrooms."
Woodhull offered the council $25,000 to purchase the Edmond St. facility. It was also Woodhull who worked with the city and actually sold the land that the food kitchen is being built on.
During the council meeting Gilmore said he hopes to renovate the old food kitchen and put in a restaurant in the facility.
The vote to approve the sale was 5-2 with Mayor Bill McMurray and council member Bryan Myers abstaining.
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