by Dennis Dalman
The Sartell City Council, at a special meeting Aug. 24, dealt with three property-lot options, voting to buy one, to sell another and to defer action on yet another.
First, the council met in closed session – not the first time it met in closed session – to discuss the properties. In the public portion of the council meeting, council members voted 4-0 to buy a 2.9-acre of land from its owner, Marilyn Koshiol, for $5,000. The land is right next to Val Smith Park in east Sartell and can be used for park expansion.
The vote was 4-0 because the fifth council member, David Peterson, could not be at the meeting.
On a 3-1 vote, the council decided to sell a parcel of property owned by the city on Riverside Drive to a private developer who will build a house on the river-side lot. The selling price was $94,000. The three-fourths acre lot is located at 632 Riverside Ave. S., about midway between the Family Dollar Store and Epic Center, on the east side of Riverside.
Some years ago, the City of Sartell bought that lot for close to $200,000, which had an empty house on it. A private party then bought the house and moved it. The city had planned perhaps to use the lot for some kind of river-access facility, such as a fishing dock. In the meantime, a park on a lot just north of the Family Dollar store was developed by the Sartell Rotary Club with a fishing dock on the river. So, for several years the city has considered selling the lot it bought just to recoup some of the funds to be used for other park amenities.
Amy Braig-Lindstrom voted against selling the lot because the city will recoup only about half of what it paid for it. After the meeting, Braig-Lindstrom said buying that lot was an example of poor planning by the council years ago, an example of putting “the cart before the horse.”
The third land issue at the Aug. 24 meeting was a 4.7-acre piece of property next to Sauk River Regional Park, currently owned by Jeremy and Jeanette Hansen. That land option will remain under discussion and negotiations for the foreseeable future.