By Graham Sturgeon, staff writer
The City of Durand and Durand Union Station, Inc. (DUSI) may be on the verge of ending their stalemate over the Depot lease agreement that the two sides have been negotiating for years. City Councilman Dr. Brian Boggs informed The Independent on Tuesday, Sept. 8, that the two sides had come to a “tentative agreement” that had been approved by both sides’ negotiating teams. The deal only awaited approval by the DUSI Board since the deal was already approved by the City Council in 2009.
Dr. Boggs reported that the two parties’ lawyers did most of the legwork during this latest round of negotiations, with both sides’ points outlined clearly after years of back-and-forth discussion on the matter. The city has sought to re-establish some control over their building, while removing some of the liability of not having a lease agreement; while DUSI has repeatedly balked at contract language that would put the group in jeopardy of bankruptcy. Through donations, fundraising and volunteer efforts, DUSI has found a formula that allows them to run the Depot without outside help from taxpayers or City Hall.
The biggest sticking point for DUSI in the negotiations was the language concerning how much the city would require DUSI to spend on repairs each year. DUSI Director Mary Stone has also proposed in the past that the two sides plan future projects and repairs together, so that will probably be the plan going forward, even if not explicitly stated in the contract.