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City-owned corner lot put up for sale

This city-owned land at the southwest corner of Ash and Burr in Mitchell has been declared surplus and is for sale. (Chris Huber/Republic)

A parcel of city land may be sold to a private company in the next few weeks.

The land is located along Burr Street at the southwest corner of its intersection with East Ash Avenue, near the railroad overpass. The Mitchell City Council has declared the land surplus property and put it up for sale.

Iverson Chrysler Center, which is based just south of the city property along Burr Street, contacted the city and expressed something there. You'd have to work with the setbacks. It's a good lot."

Peschong said he is "not at liberty" to say if he knows who is interested in the land, and what they may want to do with it.

"I know there is some interest," he said. "There are a lot of options."

Both Realtors suggested storage units as a possible usage for the land.

Doescher said Tuesday he, Peschong and Robinson toured the property and examined it last month. They spent about a half-hour inspecting the land to come up with the evaluation, with the two Realtors doing most of that.

The property was in the news Sept. 19 when an empty BNSF Railway 85-car freight train derailed there along a rail line that interest in the land, Mayor Ken Tracy said Wednesday.

Tracy said there have been other inquiries as well since the city announced the land would be declared surplus.

"I don't know for sure how many there might be," he said. "The only thing I can say is we had an inquiry on it. Whether or not they will submit a bid, I have no knowledge of that."

The city can accept any offer it considers fair, or it can reject the bids and ask for new ones, Tracy said.

If there is a second round of bidding, under state law, the city can only accept offers that are at least 90 percent of the assessed value.

The council will receive and consider sealed bids at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 17 in the Council Chambers.

A call to Iverson was not returned Wednesday.

After the car company asked about the availability of the land, Tracy said the city needed to know how much it was worth.

The council appointed a three-man appraisal board that set the value of the land at $110,000. Stephen Peschong, Dennis Robinson and City Councilman Randy Doescher served as the board of appraisers to evaluate the land. All three own property in the city, and Peschong and Robinson are Realtors.

Neither of the appraisers were paid for their services.

"Everybody that's called me, I've told them to call the city," Robinson said. "I've had a few calls, and I tell them to call the city."

He has no idea who is interested in the land, but said he sees potential for it. The land is zoned for transportation, warehousing and commercial use, but a buyer could seek to have it rezoned.

"You could use it for commercial," Robinson said. "You could build runs along the south edge of the lot. The derailment occurred just west of the Burr Street railroad bridge.

Doescher said he's not sure what the potential buyers have in mind for the property. He said there may have been something at that location before, but he cannot think of what it was.

City Planner Neil Putnam said it has been a vacant lot for as long as he can recall.

The area seems a prime spot for some kind of business, Doescher said. The city is holding onto a small chunk of the land along Burr, most likely as a right of way, Peschong said.

Tracy said selling city property is a rare event.

"I can recall one other time when I was on the council when we set a board of appraisers in the past," he said last month.

Tracy said Wednesday that this is not the start of a sell-off of city land.

"I wouldn't think there is a great deal of it," he said. "We have land with buildings on them, and park land. We wouldn't want to consider selling any of that."