From vision to reality...
On February 21, 2001, after a request by the City of Ranson, Maytag Corporation communicated by letter to the City Manager that “Maytag [was] willing to contribute the vacant building in the City of Ranson to be used to create a gymnasium/community center.” The Civic Center was industrial in nature and used as a paint shop for a soft drink machine manufacturer in the 1980’s prior to that company’s move to South Carolina. At the time, the loss of the company was devastating to the financial prosperity of the community. For many years, the property sat empty causing it to fall into a state of major disrepair. The City saw an opportunity to redevelop the area into a recreation and civic facility and asked Maytag to donate the property. Maytag agreed. In exchange for the property, Maytag asked the City to “undertake all of the necessary efforts to enable the legal transfer of this property (e.g. obtaining surveys, contracting for an independent appraisal and generating a plan for the building.” The City of Ranson completed the requests that Maytag made. The appraisal was held up for a substantial amount of time, through no fault of the City, because the appraiser could not find substantial comparables to adequately appraise the property. Nevertheless, the appraisal was completed. In the meantime, however, Whirlpool Corporation acquired the Maytag assets through an acquisition/merger. Needless to say, the City was concerned, but on September 19, 2006, Whirlpool Corporation wrote a letter to the Mayor conveying its “sincere interest in consummating a transaction with the City of Ranson.” Then, in late 2006, Industrial Realty Group (IRG) acquired real estate assets from the Whirlpool Corporation, which included the Ranson Civic Center. Thus, the process started all over again. Through a series of meetings with IRG the City explained the situation to IRG and was able to negotiate a Memorandum of Agreement that bound IRG commitment to honor Maytag’s donation promise dated February 21, 2001, by having the City commit to certain infrastructure improvements in the area. (Most all of these improvements have already been completed.) Finally, in May 2009, the City recorded the deed to the Ranson Civic Center.
Over the years, the City slowly improved the dilapidated facility. In late 2009 and early 2010, however, the City took major steps to turn the 40,000 square feet facility into a premiere facility to host athletic events, social functions and trade shows. The Civic Center now features:
- Occupancy for 1,500 persons and 40,000 square feet
- 2 full basketball courts and bleachers
- batting cages
- wireless Internet
- full-service concession stand with eating area
- office area
- multi-purpose flex flooring
- new lighting
- full sound system
This facility is available to be rented to the public by reservation for special events . To learn more about renting this facility or registering to participate in a league, call Jimmy Pierson at 304-725-2437 or Kim Spangler at 304-724-3865.