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January 15, 2014

City to buy east side land

Council approves $310K for about 20 acres.

Logansport City Council recently approved an appropriation of funds to be used toward the purchase of undeveloped land on the east side of town.

Council approved the appropriation in the form of an ordinance on first reading.

The ordinance permits a draw of $310,000 from the city’s county economic development income tax fund for the land and other costs associated with completing the purchase with East-We-Go, the company that owns the land.

The lot consists of just over 20 acres of undeveloped land near Walmart, Mary Max Cinemas Logansport 5, High Street and Yorktown Road.

The ordinance passed 6-1, with Logansport City Councilman Chuck LaDow dissenting.

Logansport Mayor Ted Franklin said the city owning the land will prevent one buyer from purchasing a small amount of land in the middle of the lot and impeding development opportunities on the surrounding land.

Franklin added he has been working with a developer who may be interested in the land, but declined to comment on the details until plans are more solid.

In a letter to Franklin, Stephen Schwering, broker and owner at Schwering Realty Inc., valued the land at $367,902, almost $58,000 more than what the city appropriated.

Logansport City Councilman Gary Fox, who voted in favor of the appropriation, said the savings may allow the city to benefit more from the purchase than just ensuring a positive development results.

“It may be something that will bring us some profit as well,” Fox said.

When the ordinance was introduced, it stated when tax increment funds become available, the Logansport Redevelopment Commission, which oversees the city’s tax increment funds, will reimburse the city for the land purchase.

Logansport City Councilwoman Teresa Popejoy offered an amendment striking this section, explaining the council does not have the authority to force the redevelopment commission to reimburse funds.

“We don’t have anything in writing that says they agree they’re going to reimburse the city,” Popejoy said.

The amendment passed unanimously.

RELATED STORY INSIDE: City council cracks down on boarded-up buildings. A4

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