Viking State Bank has unveiled plans for a new, much larger office in downtown Decorah.
The proposed new building site plan has been approved by the Decorah Planning and Zoning Commission on a 5-1 vote. The plan calls for demolishing the existing bank building at 315 West Water Street, as well as the building at 321 West Water Street that had been housing Gossling Woodworking.
The bank's current downtown office is under 5,000 square feet, housed in a building that use to be a gas station. At one point the bank explored expanding into the building at 321 West Water Street, but found structural issues and decided to demolish everything.
The new bank facility would have 14,271 square feet of space over two stories. Most of the additional square footage, however, would come because of the second story--the footprint of the new building would be similar to that of the existing two buildings.
Members of the Planning & Zoning Commission who voted in support of the project called the new facility a major commitment to the future of downtown Decorah. The one Commission member who voted against the site plan, Nathan Thompson, said he regretted the proposed demolition of the 321 West Water Street building.
Decorah Historic Preservation Commission chair Mark Muggli presented the Planning & Zoning Commission with a statement that agreed with Thompson that the demolition of the 321 West Water Street building "would be a major loss to the downtown," but the statement also praised Viking State Bank "for their commitment to the downtown and to the cnstruction of an expensive, high-quality building."
The Planning & Zoning Commission recommendation now goes before the Decorah City Council. It is expected that the city council will review the site plan at its meeting next Monday night.