The sale of 13 acres of municipal land on Capital Avenue in CHI Nebraska was finalized Tuesday by the Grand Island City Council.
Closing is scheduled for June 2.
A vote on Tuesday to approve permission for the mayor to execute the closing documents passed by a 5-4 vote.
Council members Michelle Fitzke, Justin Scott, Mike Paulick and Chuck Haase voted against, with Bethany Guzinski abstaining.
Mayor Roger Steele cast the sixth deciding vote in favour.
CHI Nebraska plans to bring a new facility to Grand Island directly west of the former Veterans Home Campus, now called Liberty Campus.
On March 8, the council approved the sale of the 12.7 acres for $318,575, or approximately $25,000 per acre, via Ordinance No. 9875. This ordinance passed by a 6-4 vote.
Tuesday’s vote was to approve the documents to complete the sale.
“The items before the board this evening, in particular the closing documents, including covenants and the matter of title insurance, have been dealt with in the purchase and sale agreement which has been approved by the council,” City Administrator Jerry Janulewicz said.
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Haase spoke out against the lack of council and public involvement in the plans for the property, which was due to a suspension of the rule requiring three readings for an ordinance.
“We were not in the negotiation. The public was unaware of the negotiation. Then the legal staff tells us that you can’t renegotiate a contract in the middle of a board meeting. It’s already been done,” he said. “I really feel like the board involvement, the public involvement, really didn’t go over very well with this article.”
Haase said he received comments from voters not only against the sale, but also against his non-compete clause.
This prohibits the use of any land within 300 feet of the site to be used for surgery centers, pharmacies, medical clinics, imaging centers or physiotherapy clinics.
“The community has spoken to me, from anyone who cares about this, and that’s about it, their wishes really haven’t been heard,” he said.
Paulick was also unhappy with the way the ordinance was handled, saying he “hasn’t seen a plan yet” except that “the farmer hasn’t planted corn in that section of land.”
Guzinski echoed the sentiment, saying she hadn’t heard anyone support the effort.
Council member Mitch Nickerson voiced his support for the project, saying there had been discussions about the proposed use when it was presented as an order, and that he had heard no opposition to the plan.
“I didn’t see any pushback like I would expect if it was a terrible idea, that the community would have done this, and done this,” he said. “I know the veterans are very attached to this, but I also think, as it was explained to us, it seems like a good choice to start development in this area.
He added: “You can waive deals, but that’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”
Council member Vaughn Minton agreed, calling it “the right project for this area.”
“I think it’s the stepping stone we need to develop the rest of this area,” he said. “I’m afraid of the negative impact if we don’t make progress on this. It’s been a long time since we’ve seen people looking at this place and wanting to buy this land. »
Steele defended the sale, saying he received “overwhelming support” for placing a medical clinic next to the former veterans’ home.
“One of the most repeated claims is that it’s compatible with the heritage of the veterans’ home. It is a care facility. It’s compatible with the Veterans’ Cemetery,” he said. “It’s not a used car lot. It’s not retail. It’s a medical clinic there to serve a community that is vastly underserved.
He added: “I think it’s a very noble thing to have a medical clinic that serves an underserved population.”
Steele also noted that the board was first asked if they wanted to suspend the rule for three readings for the ordinance, and they opted to go ahead.
“It’s not my job as mayor to question members of council, are you sure you want to do that? Or do you want to talk about it later?” he said. I cannot go back on this decision.
Earthworks for the estimated $15 million project are expected to begin this fall and a construction period of 12 to 16 months will follow.