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The old State Bank in Shellsburg

The old State Bank in Shellsburg is undergoing a renovation.

SHELLSBURG, Iowa — So the old Shellsburg Savings Bank has been empty for about 10 years.

What do you do with it?

Following a downtown walk, city leaders decided the old Savings Bank building could be saved and the history preserved, giving it new life.

Now, working is underway to make that happen. When completed, the structure will house a new weekend pizza restaurant.

Mayor Lonnie Speckner approached Keith and Angie Hazens and proposed an idea about opening a restaurant. They accepted the idea. The name of the restaurant may have a spin to it, they are still tossing ideas around when it comes to this. Customers who have missed Cranky Hanks will soon be able to enjoy the food once more.

When the restaurant opens on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, it will seat about 50 people. The menu will consist of pizza, pasta and wings. There will be the signature products, Hank Bread and Hank Juice, as well as micro kegs from breweries. They will be looking to hire a small staff for part time openings when the time comes. The Hazens said they have had amazing support from many people.

The Hazens owned Cranky Hanks in Cedar Rapids for about nine years in two locations. Cranky Hanks opened in 2005 on Williams Boulevard on the southwest side of Cedar Rapids, but eventually moved to the lower level of Lindale Mall. The Hazens have lived in Vinton since 1999 and worked full-time jobs before they opening Cranky Hanks.

In the past, this building was a bank that had moved to where the Wells Fargo is now. After the bank moved, a man named Chuck Thomas bought the building and turned it into a doctors office while Rockridge was being planned and built. When Rockridge was finished the Doctors office then moved there. After that, a Chiroprators office had moved into the building. That office stayed for about 2 years. Jem Video was the next company to move in. This building was used as an apartment after Jem Video moved out. During all of these move-ins and move-outs the building had been breaking down. The building sat empty for another 10 years before Mayor Lonnie Speckner approached a few people in town.

Shellsburg received a grant for $100,000. The grant was approved April 12.

Brian Bogt owns the building. Bogt is also one of the owners of the Pearl Street Social Club. Mayor Lonnie Speckner mentioned that there will be a lot of remodeling, but they want to keep it original as well, just revitalized. Tearing out some of the old material in the building started last year.

The building’s antique window in the front is being renovated. The tuck-pointing will be reworked, along with the metal ceiling. A new furnace will be installed in the building as well as central air conditioning. Bogt has gotten a good portion of the rewiring done, and re-insulated the ceiling. More things need to be done though. The windows will be updated to energy efficient double pane windows, and they are going to put in a handicap accessible bathroom. New flooring and plumbing will still need to be done before Keith and Angie Hazen can start on their venture.

Shellsburg Area Community Group, (SACG) donated $2,000 and will be assisting with some painting and the non- technical work. Shellsburg is also contributing hauling services during the remodel. Bogt’s goal is to have the building ready sometime in October or possibly November due to the construction in town.