Bank of Kilmichael has plans for downtownBy AMANDA SEXTON FERGUSON,
Downtown Kilmichael is getting facelift, thanks to an investment made by the Bank of Kilmichael.
According to Bank of Kilmichael President/CEO Buddy Mortimer, the bank purchased six storefronts along South Depot Street and has plans to return them to their former glory. In the process, it will extend its current Kilmichael Headquarters, move and renovate a new Kilmichael Town Hall, and develop three vacant commercial/professional offices for new businesses.
“We plan to restore the exterior as close to the historical look as we can get for all six buildings,” Mortimer said.
Mortimer said with the current staff of Bank of Kilmichael at 40, including all four branches, the current Bank of Kilmichael Headquarters in Kilmichael does not have a large enough meeting place for all of its employees.
“Due to our continued growth, we don’t have the space for all of our employees to meet for training,” Mortimer said. “We are going to convert the old picture show building into a training center with seating for 70. It’s perfect really because the floor slopes down to the stage.”
Mortimer said the current Kilmichael Town Hall building, which it housed the Bank of Kilmichael from the late 1930s until 1968, will be converted to the board building and include a place for an employee break room.
“We will extend the hallway to make it accessible from the current building,” Mortimer said.
Mortimer said when construction is completed this summer, there will be three empty buildings for commercial/professional offices.
“They will be perfect for an aspiring business,” Mortimer said. “They will be fixed up nicely.”
Mortimer said he worked in conjunction with the town to move the current town hall to the far end of the strip, and renovations are currently underway there. The bank will own the building and is leasing it to the town.
Mayor Bobby Howell said not only did the bank offer the town a nice purchase price for the current town hall building, it is footing the bill for the renovations of the new town hall, and will lease it back to the town.
“We are really proud of the Bank of Kilmichael for making improvements,” Howell said. “They were generous in what they paid the town, and we were already looking for a new building.”
Howell said the town had outgrown its current building and were considering moving prior to the bank’s offer. The new town hall includes a customer service desk and reception area, offices for the mayor, police chief, and public works director, a file room, break room, board room, and handicapped-accessible bathrooms. Guy Stanford is handling the renovations at town hall.
Howell said the town will move to its new location by Friday, February 15.
Mortimer said construction on the other buildings will begin by the end of February and should take about six months to complete. Work, done by Mark Jones Construction of Webster County, will not interrupt services at the Bank of Kilmichael.
“This is an opportunity for us to generate some interest in the town,” Mortimer said. “We are going to make downtown Kilmichael look nice.”
Howell said not only is this investment beneficial to the future of the town, but it is an investment in the citizens of Kilmichael.
Mortimer said the bank’s plans include making the outsides of the buildings to be as close to the original look as possible.
“If anyone has any photos of the Kilmichael square, we are looking for as much information on our downtown Kilmichael buildings as possible,” he said.
Photos can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.