by Dennis Dalman
On a vote of 3-2, the Sartell City Council decided at its April 13 meeting to sell a parcel of land just south of Rotary Park along Riverside Avenue.
About 10 years ago, the council bought that lot from a private party and then moved the old house which was on it. The city paid $195,000 for it. The council will now put it up for sale at its current market value, about $93,000.
Council member David Peterson strongly opposed selling the property. Sartell, he said, is a river city, and its residents have long been in favor of recreational options for riverfront property. Peterson asked: Why sell the riverfront lot, especially for half of what the city paid for it?
Council member Amy Braig-Lindstrom agreed with Peterson.
The money from the sale and resultant taxes from private ownership could be used to extend amenities at Rotary Park, several council members noted.
Council member Steve Hennes said he would like to see property behind the Family Dollar and O’Reilly Auto Parts businesses, adjacent to Rotary Park, be developed by the city as an extension of the north side of Rotary, all the way to the bridge.
Sartell Mayor Sarah Jane Nicoll also said she favors that idea.
“We’re losing money by letting that lot sit there empty,” Hennes said.
Some money generated from the sales and taxes could also be used to improve the parking lot at Rotary, which had also been brought up by council members at other meetings.
Council member Pat Lynch said the property as it is now has limited value. He agreed the selling price is not ideal compared to what the city paid for the lot, but he added the city has no control over the current market value of that land.
“We should get it back on the tax roles,” Lynch said.