McCOOK, Nebraska -- The McCook City Council tentatively approved the donation of a city lot to the McCook Economic Development Corp., Monday evening, but delayed final approval so that further discussion and any potential offers for the lot could be heard. The lot is located at the corner of East Second Street and C Street and was acquired after the city demolished the home that had occupied it.
The decision to delay final approval of the donation came after citizens in attendance, of the regularly scheduled meeting at council chambers, criticized the action.
Citizens spoke up during the meeting and claimed that an offer from a neighbor to purchase the lot, that was now being donated to MEDC, had been turned down by city staff. City Attorney Nate Schneider said the lot was listed for sale for 7-8 months with no interested parties. "We strung it out for as long as we could," said Schneider.
Discussion was heard that indicated councilors may consider offers on the property if they were presented to them before the third and final reading, which would then finalize the donation of the lot to MEDC.
City staff had asked the three reading rule be suspended and approval finalized that night, but after Councilman Shane Hilker questioned why the three reading rule was being suspended, no solid answer could be given. Schneider indicated that it may be timing issues or that MEDC needed to move materials onto the lot, but said he really wasn't certain.
Councilman Aaron Kircher commented that people were obviously talking about the item, with Councilman Mike Gonzales adding that, "If the suspension was such a need maybe they [MEDC] should have had someone here to explain why." Suspension of the rule was subsequently denied on a 2-3 vote of councilors.
MEDC intends to develop the lot with an existing home located at 516 Norris Avenue, that was previously donated to them by Red Willow County. After relocating the home to its new lot, MEDC will make upgrades to it that include making it handicap accessible, as well as more energy efficient and safer. Housing Development Director Mary Kircher told council members in April that it would be part of their Purchase Rehab Resell program and targeted for low to moderate income home buyers.
The lot had its lot lines adjusted after an April City Council meeting, so that a portion of it could be sold to a neighbor before the remaining amount was to be donated to MEDC. The decision came after Bill Matson told councillors during that meeting, that he was interested in purchasing the lot in order to build an expansion on his home.
Councilors decided on having a lot line adjustment completed that ensured MEDC would still have the minimum lot size needed and yet allow for a portion to be sold to Matson.