There's a place called "Mom's Kitchen" over near 5th Avenue, which closed in 2006 because the owner was ill. She later died of cancer. Because Mom's Kitchen had been a staple in the community for so many years, the city voted 4-3 to purchase it for $165,000.
The County Redevelopment Agency, who recommended the city not buy the property because of the city's budget issues, informed them it would cost roughly $280,000 to repair the building and bring it up to code. The proposed sale generated a lot of press as many city residents felt the money could best be used elsewhere, and rightly so. However, then-Mayor Pegeen Hanrahan, insisted the city should buy the property because it could be packaged with an area of proposed redevelopment. However, others within city agencies disputed that, saying that there had been little or no discussion of any requests for proposals to develop that area.
Four years later Mom's Kitchen sits in a familiar tiny lot, abandoned and rundown. It's such an unsafe structure that firefighters have been ordered not to go in if a fire breaks out. The city says the building has to be inspected in order to decide what to do with it but there are basically two options: make the structural repairs or tear it down.
Back in 2009 County Commissioner Rodney Long pushed long and hard to get the city to buy the property. Why? He says it was to protect the heritage but it just so happens that Long was the real estate agent for the woman who owned the building. She inherited it from her late husband who was the son of the original proprietor of the restaurant. People questioned Rodney Long's motives but he refused to discuss it.
One thing is for sure. At this moment, there are three city commissioners patting themselves on the back for a job well done.