Tom Kerr told the Brookings City Council Monday that he will be tearing down the Kerr Ace Hardware building on Chetco Avenue after building a larger building directly behind it.

Razing the old building will create room for 54 new parking spaces a precious commodity in downtown Brookings.

Mayor Bob Hagbom said the additional parking would be a great boon to the city.

Kerr said at approximately 8,000 square feet, the current building is simply too small.

Weve long outgrown it. Plus, its 80 years old and maintenance is becoming too expensive, he said.

The new building will have 20,720 square feet. It will be constructed approximately 120 feet back from the property line.

We hope to start construction by September and have it finished for our fiftieth anniversary in 2002, Kerr said.

Kerr Hardware was originally founded by the late Henry L. Kerr, a Roanoke, Va., native who came to Brookings in 1945 via Packwood, Wash.

Kerr established and successfully operated two local lumber mills. Since there was no place to buy hardware supplies, he started a small store in his garage on Hillside Avenue.

In the late 1940s Henry Kerr bought the present property.

In 1951, Henrys son, Robert, and son-in-law, Robert Rettke, started Kerr Hardware and Electric, but Robert Kerrs involvement in the business was interrupted by service with the Army in Korea. In 1952, he returned to help run the business and in the early 1960s he bought out Robert Rettke.

In 1971 Kerr joined Ace Hardware Corp. and purchased the Chetco Avenue property from his father. In 1973, he incorporated the business as Kerr Hardware Inc.

In 1982 the business was renamed Kerr Ace Hardware Building Center and Robert and his sons, Tom and Steve, built the large steel building across from the post office.

Tom and Steve took over ownership of the business in 1996.

Although dad comes into the store almost every day when hes in town, Tom said.