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This piece of land on the east side of Minnesota Street between Seventh and Eighth avenues in Mitchell was designated as surplus and put up for bid by the City Council on Monday night. (Chris Huber/Republic)

City of Mitchell offers 2 parcels of land for sale

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Just call him Wheelin' and Dealin' Ken Tracy, ready and willing to sell you some land? Not quite.

The mayor of Mitchell said he's not suddenly in the real estate business, but nor is he opposed to selling off city land that is not being used. Monday night, the Mitchell City Council followed Tracy's recommendation and agreed to designate two parcels of land as surplus and place them up for sale by sealed bid.

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This marks the second and third piece of real estate the city has put up for sale in the last three months.

"These are parcels of property that I have not necessarily shopped around," Tracy said during a Monday afternoon interview with The Daily Republic. "We have had inquiries about the availability of the property. I personally don't see any reason for the city to hold on to property that could be sold and put onto the tax rolls."

The larger section is a piece on the east side of Minnesota Street, a half block north of Seventh Avenue near Mitchell Middle School. It's a vacant stretch of land that Mitchell Concrete once owned and left a large rubble pile on, Tracy said.

The city bought the land to clear it up, he said, and has used it to store machinery or materials. Currently, some concrete feed bunkers are being stored on the land by a local, private company. Public Works Director Tim McGannon said former Mayor Lou Sebert, who attended Monday's meeting at City Hall, gave the company permission to do so a few years ago.

Tracy said someone -- he didn't want to reveal who -- contacted him and asked if it was for sale. He said he asked city department heads if anyone had any need or plans for the land, and then decided to ask the council to put it on the block.

The second, smaller piece is a half a lot of land at the northwest corner of Fifth Avenue and Edgerton Street, just below the Davison County shop. A water line runs to the old water tower on the other half of the lot.

Tracy said the adjacent homeowner wants the land to build a garage on.

Councilman Randy Doescher and Realtors Stephen Peschong and Denny Robinson will serve as a committee of three to set a price for the land. The same process was used when the city sold property at the southwest corner of Burr Street and East Ash Avenue for $112,500 to Iverson Chrysler Center last year.

Tracy said "anyone and everyone" can submit bids for the property, but he said the small chunk of land off Edgerton Street may draw only one bid.

"I would doubt that there would be anyone else who would want a half a lot," he said.

Tracy said he doesn't expect such land sales to be a regular feature of city business.

"This isn't a wholesale opening up of city property throughout the city," he said. "I see no reason to hold on to the property. It's more of a coincidence that these three came up like this."

As the sales were introduced Monday night, Tracy said there was nothing fishy about the land sales.

"This is not to pad my retirement or anything," he said, drawing smiles and chuckles from the audience.

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