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Thursday, May 5, 2016

Highland Council approves land purchase

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Highland City Council met in a special meeting last week to discuss the possibility of obtaining two properties required to build the city park, which will be paid for through a grant.

A setback occurred when the land designated for the park was not large enough to accommodate the new facility. The city then began work to obtain property near East Lakeshore Drive in Highland.

The 33 foot wide segment of property belonging to a Hidden Valley landowner includes one small lot, which was appraised for $1,000.

The remaining lot and a 25 foot piece of property belonging to Pete Reilly was valued at $2,286.

Mary Jo Clark, who is on the park committee and has been instrumental in making the park a reality said, she has spoken with property owners about a possible donation of the small piece of land to the city. The owner told Clark she was not financially able to do so, but accepted the proposal of the appraised value.

Clark explained it was only a proposal and required council's approval. When making offers for the property, City attorney Jon Abele suggested not going above or below the appraised value.

Alderman Larry Allen, said, "This free park is getting kind of expensive, with the survey fee and cost of the property."

Although the city obtained a grant to fund the park, they also obtained $16,000 from the Hidden Valley property owners who turned land over to the city.

Mayor Richard Smith said the city will not go over that amount when funding the park. Allen also asked if a restroom would be included on the property of the new facility.

Clark explained the city was too late for the 2011 50/50 grant to install restroom facilities. She said the park will house portable restrooms, with the city pursuing a grant to build permanent restrooms at a later date.

Clark said the city can donate in kind labor, land and water connection to meet the city's 50 percent obligation for a future grant to install restroom facilities.

The park will be located near Lake Mirandy, near the current dock. There will be a basketball court, a pavilion with four picnic tables, a grill, handicapped parking and sidewalks. Benches and garbage cans will also be included. A separate grant is currently being utilized to bring a boat ramp to the area.

Allen then made a motion to offer the owners of both properties the appraisal value. Council voted unanimously to offer the owners the respective amounts for the real estate.

Council discussed the possibility of selling 60 acres near Big Creek, the area used as a burn site following the ice storm. Mayor Smith said he did not see why the city needed the property. Discussion ensued about putting a road through the property and offering it for sale.

All members of the council agreed it should first be offered to the Adams', from whom it was purchased. The other option was to put it up for sale and rezone it for commercial/residential.

Alderman Allen suggested selling marketable timber from the property. Others said the property did not contain any large timber.

Alderwoman Clark asked if a person can purchase the land and subdivide it later.

Smith assured her the property was zoned to allow this possibility.

Council finally agreed, after a motion was made by Allen, to allow the mayor to contact the persons from whom the city had purchased the land and offer it to them for the price the city paid for the property.

Everyone on council agreed with the current market it would not be wise to put the property up for sale at a loss.

Allen also suggested the mayor explore the possibility of harvesting pulp wood from the property.

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