Farm ground there leased for 2010 crop year
By Jan Schultz
The Imperial Republican
There is commercial and residential interest in the ground the city purchased last year for economic development, east of Schroeder Park.
Leslie Carlholm, the city’s community development director, had a busy night at last Thursday’s rescheduled city council meeting, as she reported on the developing interest in the ground there.
With that interest has come a natural question from prospective buyers—how much will it cost?
“They want to know a price,” Carlholm said.
She told the mayor and council she had met with Imperial’s Citizens Advisory Committee to get their input on price ranges for parcels of property there. She also gathered input from other local residents knowledgeable on property values, then will come back to the council.
A special council meeting was set for Wednesday this week (Feb. 17) at 1 p.m. to receive additional input on land parcel and lot prices on that ground, with a possible approval coming from the council.
Since the council won’t meet for their second meeting this month, Carlholm suggested the special meeting to finalize price ranges on the property.
Carlholm said a 28-acre tract, running east and west, on the south end of the property is of interest to a possible purchaser. She said it’s most important to first come up with a price for it.
“There could be a purchase of that by the end of the year,” she said.
There is already a rough site plan developed for the property, she noted, and two highway access points off Highway 61 have already been approved by the Department of Roads.
There is also interest in individual residential lots, which would face Holland St., Carlholm said.
Carlholm said the city does not anticipate recouping the estimated $1 million investment the city will have in the former Melvin and Dorothy Miller property from the sale of lots and land parcels.
Additional funds will come back to the community, however, she noted, with additional jobs, children in school, etc.
The city paid $360,000 for the ground, but will have additional costs as infrastructure such as streets and utilities are added. There have also been some legal costs as the city negotiated and finalized purchase of the ground’s 70 acres.
Funds from the city’s sales tax economic development fund were used for the land purchase.
Fifty-two acres leased
Even though there is some developing interest in the ground, the city will lease the ground for the 2010 farm season, and took bids on some 52 farmable acres there at last week’s meeting.
There was interest in the lease from three producers, two of whom actually bid on the per-acre lease of the property. It finally sold to Dan Reeves at $230 per acre, or a total of $11,960.
Reeves and Rob Schilke started the bidding at $150 per acre, then it progressed upwards in $5, $10 and $25 increments.
While there are 52-plus acres available to farm on the property, the lease-holder will receive the 63 irrigated acres of allocation from the NRD. As part of the agreement, Reeves will also be responsible to farm or maintain the corners outside the pivot.
The city plans to open up East 4th Street on the north side of the property this coming year.
Other council business
- A resolution approved at last Thursday’s meeting concerning the city-owned lot at 1710 Broadway is intended to notify the public of the city’s intent to sell it. Since an offer the council is considering is less than $5,000, the law allows the city to sell it directly, according to City Attorney Phil Pierce. At a January meeting, the council gave indication they would likely accept a $3,500 bid for the lot from Bruce and Crystal Peterson, after the city advertised for bids on the lot. Ed Lee also submitted a $3,500 bid, but his bid also requested the foundation and other concrete there be removed. But since that time, discussion on changing the zoning came up. An application for a zoning change from residential to commercial there came before the Planning Commission at a public hearing on Tuesday this week. The Planning Commission makes recommendations on zoning changes to the council, which has final approval. If the council ultimately makes a zoning change there, which will be addressed at the March 8 meeting, then the city will post for a seven-day period its intent to sell the lot. City Clerk/Administrator Jo Leyland told council members last week there has now been some additional interest in the property since efforts are being made to change the zoning to commercial. The Petersons had indicated if they purchase the lot, they will build a facility to house both their Mud Buckets retail store and preschool/daycare businesses, which would require a zoning change to commercial.
- It may be time for another update to the city’s comprehensive plan and zoning regulations, which were last updated 10 years ago. A proposal for the update is being put together by Miller & Associates, but the council took no action last week. Building Inspector/Zoning Officer Nick Schultz said it’s probably time to discuss updates to them, but felt the Planning Commission could do much of it themselves with a regular agenda item at their meetings that would save money. Estimates for a full update by the engineering firm are around $26,000.
- Temporary financing for the reconstruction of East 5th, 9th and 12th Sts. this summer will be done with warrants from local banks, based on council action. Bonds are planned to be sold to pay for the work, but that can’t happen until the work is “substantially complete.” Pinnacle and Adams Bank will both finance the project at 3.6% for the warrants until the end of the year.
- There are owners of four homes in Imperial who have agreed to have their properties demolished and will likely be approved, according to a report at the meeting. Imperial, together with Ogallala, received a $200,000 federal grant to pay for the demolitions. The state will review the properties for any historical significance before approving the demolitions. The property owners retain ownership of the land once the structure is removed.
- A resolution adopting the Chase County multi-jurisdictional hazard mitigation plan was approved. All jurisdictions within the county are being asked to approve the plan, which in part, makes the city eligible for pre-disaster and post-disaster federal funding.
- The council approved several requests for funding from the city’s economic development sales tax fund, including $3,000 for local business coaching provided by Janeece Woofter (at $25 per hour). Leslie Carlholm noted Woofter served as a “coach” for a Mid-Plains business class, and at the request of the city, is interested in continuing the “coaching” on a local basis at that hourly rate.
- Kristi McNair was appointed by Mayor Annie Longan to the park board, which was approved by the council. McNair replaces Emily Vogt, who moved out of the city limits.
- A court case filed against the city relating to a sewer backup into an Imperial home last year was dismissed by the court, according to City Attorney Phil Pierce. While her name was listed as plaintiff, Diane Gellerman told The Imperial Republican she personally did not file the suit, it was her insurance company, which has paid her for the damage.
- The Nebraska Equal Opportunity Commission has filed a discrimination complaint on behalf of an Imperial Manor employee against the city, reported City Clerk/Administrator Leyland during the meeting. No other details on the complaint were available. The complaint has been referred to the city attorney.
- There will be no quorum for the council’s Feb. 22 meeting, so the council voted to cancel the meeting. That is the week of the League of Municipalities’ mid-winter conference.