Plans brewing to turn condemned Mongoven building into unique community space

The Mongoven building could soon be getting a new look thanks to a Community Development Block Grant Program Hometown Revitalization Disaster Recovery Program (CDBG-HRP) grant the City of Chipley was awarded in 2021.

The $852,800 is funded through the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity (DEO) for reacquisition and partial demolition of the iconic building located at the corner of South Railroad Avenue and 5th Street downtown.

The original plans were to completely demolish the building and repurpose the property as a park area; however, those plans have changed to only a partial demolition and limited preservation and restoration of parts of the structure.

David H. Melvin of Melving Engineering brought model renderings of how that would look to a recent city council meeting. The hopes are to keep the vault, fireplace, marble window sills, a central column and the original marble steps, all of which were part of the First National Bank that was constructed in 1905.

MelvinÂ’s plans include removing the top half of the structure and having an open air courtyard complete with the fireplace and column and vault on display surrounded by picnic tables.

The council was on board with the plans and now must follow the steps to bring it to fruition. Those steps include the reacquisition of the property and developing plans to obtain bids for the selective demolition. After the selective demolition is complete, plans will be developed for the limited preservation and restoration of the site.

The city hopes to be able to cover all the associated costs with the $852,800 grant, but given the rising construction costs, it is possible that other funding sources will need to be found to complete the project. This wonÂ’t be known until the bid process is completed.
Mayor Tracy Andrews says she knows citizens are wondering why the building still stands.

“People ask all the time why it is still standing,” she said. “Once we reacquire the building, we can get the process going. I am excited about the plans that Melvin brought us. This will be a great thing for the City of Chipley.”