Steve Parker, the local agent who heads the Shelter Insurance office at 350 S. Central Avenue in Eureka, will be truly springing forward by this spring. He received approval at Tuesday's Board of Aldermen meeting to create an insurance office at 207 S. Central Avenue, on Eureka's Old Town stretch of historic buildings. Residents currently know the address as the abandoned gas station downtown.
Parker plans to keep the basic 40x40 feet structure, but to renovate its look and the overall grounds. "It has tons of potential," he said.
Longtime residents said the station at the corner of Dreyer and Centeral first provided the Midwestern leader Skelly brand of gas, then Texaco. It was a Citgo station before it was closed and sat vacant, until now.
"I'd rather stay where I am; it would be way easier to stay," said Parker. "From one way, it's disappointing. But from another way, it's exciting, too."
Parker said he is eager to be part of the popular downtown Eureka area. Eureka board of alderman for Ward 3 Shannon Britt said, per the plans being reviewed at Tuesday's meeting, he thought the renovated space would a great addition.
To that end, Eureka Mayor Kevin Coffey asked about a joint plan with city experts to establish a new sidewalk on the right-of-way on the property. Parker said he would welcome the lot becoming overflow parking for city festivals or events.
Parker confirmed the old gas tanks were removed from the lot this spring, and that environmental studies were complete. He said he is waiting for the official letters of clearance.
He said completing the renovation by April 15 would be ideal for him.
Parker moved to Eureka from Conway, AR, and recently completed his 20th year as an agent for Shelter. He is a Missouri native, was a left-handed pitcher for the University of Arkansas, was drafted by the Chicago Cubs, and played in the St Louis Cardinals organization.
Parker was Shelter's 2011 company agent of the year.