Thursday, Feb. 16

City looks at selling excess property

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[FEB. 16, 2006]  The Grounds, Buildings and Local Improvements Committee opened discussions that it may be time for the city to try to sell a piece of property that was acquired in a demolition act. After spending an estimated $100,000, there is now a nice 107-by-80-foot lot at the corner of Kickapoo and Pekin streets, where the old Miller building once stood.

The lot, bordered by the Lincoln Public Library parking lot and Bartelmay Office Services at 116 N. Kickapoo St., has grass and trees that are maintained by the city but is not used for anything.

An unnamed businessman met with city building inspector Les Last recently and made an offer of $10,000 for the property. He also offered a guarantee that he would put a nice building on it in a year.

Mayor Beth Davis and aldermen's concerns were whether the city has any means of regulating what would go there or if stipulations based on current ordinances or historic designation could be made requiring the facade to fit the decor of the downtown historic district.

Financial recovery was also discussed. "The city put a lot into that, not that we expect to get what we put into it back out," an alderman commented. But $10,000 seemed like too little for it. An amount of $20,000 seemed more worthy, but it was unknown what the actual market price might be at this time.

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The committee agreed with Alderman Daron Whitaker, who said, "We've got too much excess property and should be selling some of it."

City attorney Bill Bates said that the city must first get an appraisal of the property and also must declare it as surplus property. Then they have two choices. They can either list it with a local real estate agent or sell it at public auction.

One thing that anyone would want to know before building there, Bates said, is that chunks of concrete were used to fill the large hole in the ground before topsoil was laid.

[Jan Youngquist]

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