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Platte Ministerial Association receives extension for Westerhuis estate

PLATTE -- Time is on the Platte Ministerial Association's side. The group was granted more than a month-long extension to raise the funds they need to purchase the Westerhuis estate. The 40-acre estate was put up for auction nearly one year after...

People look at the items available for auction on Friday on the Westerhuis property in Platte. The land itself was sold to the to the Platte Area Ministerial Association for 370,000 dollars. (Matt Gade/Republic)
People look at the items available for auction in September on the Westerhuis property in Platte. The land itself was sold to the to the Platte Area Ministerial Association for $370,000 dollars. (Matt Gade/Republic)

PLATTE - Time is on the Platte Ministerial Association's side.

The group was granted more than a month-long extension to raise the funds they need to purchase the Westerhuis estate. The 40-acre estate was put up for auction nearly one year after Scott Westerhuis is believed to have shot and killed his wife, Nicole, and their four children before setting his home ablaze and killing himself in the early morning hours of Sept. 17, 2015.

The ministerial association acquired the land for $370,000 on Sept. 16. On that day, the group made a 10 percent down payment. The remainder of the money, $333,000, was to be paid within 30 days of the sale.

The original closing date - Monday, Oct. 17 - has now passed, but the organization was granted an extension last week to Nov. 22 and Daniel Daum, with the Platte Ministerial Association, said he is confident the association will raise the funds it need.

"We are definitely on track," Daum said. "And with the of course with the extension, we're doing very well. And we do have private financing in place to make up any difference."

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With the Platte Ministerial Association supplying the highest bid, its plans for the estate include a summer youth ministry program to be held each year, along with other ministerial retreats and camps throughout the year, Daum said.

The group has since received many donations for the project, allowing it to also purchase the gym's wood floor for $8,600 and the two basketball hoops inside of the gym for $500 each.

Daum said a "majority of the money" has been donated from people within the Platte community and surrounding area. The organization has also received donations from North Dakota, Minnesota and as far as Texas, all of which have connections to the small town.

To help fundraise and spread the word about its summer program plans, Daum said the association will provide a free meal at noon on Nov. 6 at the Platte City Community Center. Anybody is welcome to join, hear about the group's plans and donate as they wish.

The group has also set up a GoFundMe account and raised more than $1,600 as of Monday.

Daum said the association plans to privately finance as little as possible, and with the extension giving them well over a month to continue raising money, he's hoping the group won't have to utilize the private financing.

Daum declined to say how much money the association still needs to raise, but he's not worried about reaching the goal by late November. He, and others within the association, are looking forward to the plans to revitalize the estate.

"We're very excited," Daum said.

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