Rose-colored glasses were shattered for the Hamilton House supporters as county commissioners on Tuesday rejected a last-minute offer on the building.
The Hamilton House, also known as the potential site for the Music Conservatory of Coeur d'Alene, has been fighting demolition for almost a year. After a split commissioner vote revoked the conservatory board's chance to lease the Government Way house in June, supporters had three months to drum up $500,000 to purchase the property.
Tyler Scott, a neighbor of the Hamilton House, presented the $500,001 bid to the conservatory board, Julienne Dance said. Dance, one of the pioneers for the conservatory in Coeur d'Alene, then rushed it to the county offices this morning.
"At 11:41 a.m., she turned in the cash offer in full faith," Richard Dance, Julienne's husband, said. "At 12:40 p.m., my wife got notice that the loan may not go through."
The bid proposed a $100,000 cash down payment, with the remaining $400,001 to be financed through a contract with monthly payments and 4% interest. Unfortunately, this violated the county's for-sale agreement.
Commissioners Leslie Duncan and Chris Fillios voted to allow the county's legal counsel, Pat Braden, to review the bid. Commissioner Bill Brooks rejected the proposal for its invalidity.
"The bid specifications were very clear, they were published, and they weren't followed," Brooks said. “Show me the money. You have had extension after extension, and nothing happened. I’m pretty much done with it.”
Fillios said commissioners would review the bid with counsel and present their final decision at the next business meeting, but there will be nothing Dance or the music conservatory can do by that time. With less than a day to make her case, she hasn't given up.
"We're going to fight it," Dance said.
Dance said the conservatory is continuing to accept online donations at its website, and hopes that more donors could change the mind of the commissioners.
There are no definitive plans for the Hamilton House property. However, the county has considered using it for a new county facility's potential location or creating a parking lot.
“The ultimate responsibility we have is to the taxpayer, we’re not talking about a $25,000 or $30,000 donation or concession,” Fillios said. “We’re talking about a property that we paid $420,000 for and was purchased with an intended purpose in mind.”