West U May Buy Residential Lots for Parkland

January 28, 2013

The West U City Council may decide to purchase three residential lots tonight for a future park on Mercer.

The city council will consider purchasing 6522 Mercer, 6528 Mercer and 6532 Mercer tonight.

The city council will consider purchasing 6522 Mercer, 6528 Mercer and 6532 Mercer tonight.

According to tonight’s agenda, the council will vote on the purchase of properties located at 65522 Mercer, 6528 Mercer and 6532 Mercer. 6522 Mercer is owned by Erik and Maria Herbst and 6528 Mercer and 6532 Mercer are owned by Roger and Ann Martin.

The three properties are located on Mercer between Pittsburg Street and Carnegie Street. Two of the lots back up to Poor Farm Ditch. The square footage of all three lots is about 28,000 square feet.

The council will also vote on a resolution declaring official intent to reimburse expenses related to the acquisition of real estate that may become future parkland in an amount not to exceed $2 million, according to the agenda statement.

The total cost of all three properties has not been released.

The city is planning on paying for the properties using its General Reserve Fund and intends to reimburse that fund within 18 months. The city hopes to receive charitable contributions to reimburse the funds or use money from the sale of city-owned real estate.

If the city does not receive the revenue, the resolution that council is voting on tonight will allow for the city to use voter approved municipal bonds for the reimbursement, according to the agenda memo.

In 2006, voters approved a bond election authorizing the city council to issue up to $2 million in municipal bonds to fund the acquisition and construction of a park or parks within the city provided that the park is located west of Buffalo Speedway and east of Auden.

The properties being considered for purchase tonight fall within the area specified in the 2006 bond election. The bonds have not been issued at this time.

City Manager Michael Ross told InstantNewsWestU.com that the properties could be used as a “stand alone park.”

“This could stand alone if that was the decision for the future,” he said.

In March of 2012 council directed a parkland acquisition committee, a subcommittee of the city’s parks board, to continue to look for properties that could someday become a park.

Parks Chair John Wilkinson told the council last year that the goal is to have a park within walking distance of all West U residents in all quadrants of the city.

West U currently has 11 parks, totaling 12.6 acres. All of the parks are located on corner lots.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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