Hearing set for Y land sale deal
During the Washington City Council’s Sept. 2 meeting, the public will have the chance to speak on the sale of land at the proposed wellness park to the Washington Community Y after a proposal to set the hearing for the sale passed with a split decision.
The council voted 4-2 Tuesday to approve the public hearing for the city to sell about 5 acres of land to the Y for the purpose of building a new facility. Council members Bob Shellmyer and Russ Zieglowsky voted against the motion. Washington Y director Becky Harkema attended the meeting, but said little as the council deliberated on the proposal.
“It’s kind of self-explanatory in the contract that was written up,” she said.
City administrator Brent Hinson said that the city also has an existing purchase option on the property. He said that the city had tried to follow council directives to give a reasonable sale price for the property. According to the contract, a 4.8-acre parcel of land is being sold at a cost of $50,000. A purchase agreement the city entered into on Aug. 12, which was included in the council’s packet, says the Y has agreed to purchase the property to construct a new YMCA facility. The Y has agreed to pay the city $5,000 before the end of the year for the property and the remainder on the possession date. Until the Y takes possession of the property, the city will retain possession.
The purchase agreement also contains a stipulation that if the Y hasn’t been issued a building permit for the new facility within 10 years of the date of the agreement or the Y informs the city that the project is abandoned, the agreement will be void.
Shellmyer questioned the sale price. Hinson said that the price is based on the Iowa State University Extension land value report. He said the city purchased the land for $7,500 per acre.
“When you take a look at the city’s purchase price for that portion of the property and any cost the city has incurred administratively or otherwise, $50,000 seems like a fair price to ask for the land,” Hinson said.
There was no discussion after the motion was made.
Mayor Sandra Johnson said that during the Sept. 2 meeting, the public could comment on “any portion of the language of the purchase agreement and the project master.” She said it would be an opportunity for people to speak to the council and the Y board.
Copies of the purchase agreement are available on the City of Washington’s Web site in the packet for the Aug. 19 council meeting and are available at Washington City Hall.
Earlier this year, the Y held two meetings for public input on expansion. During a recent interview, Harkema said that if the city approves selling the land to the Y, the project would be redesigned before a capital campaign begins.