The Webster City City Council held a special meeting December 31st for the sole purpose of scheduling a public hearing at the January 6th regular Council meeting. The topic of that public hearing is to consider selling City owned property.
In an effort to provide as much information as possible to the public prior to that public hearing, please see the following:
A commercial developer working on behalf of Dollar General has approached the City with an offer to purchase a City owned parcel on Superior Street to construct a new Dollar General. The existing Dollar General is in a leased building and not an option for the new, larger Dollar General. The desired location for the new facility is a portion of East Twin Park. Although the proposal is somewhat unorthodox, we concluded we have a responsibility to thoughtfully and comprehensively consider the offer. As such, we began to research the history of the park and confirmed that the City does have the legal right to sell it in part or whole.
Superior Street is clearly and primarily a commercial corridor and is zoned C-3 (Highway Business) for all except East and West Twin Parks. At this time, we have few alternate greenfield locations to offer for development. The developer rejected all other locations we presented including the other vacant commercial sites or the downtown district as an option for this particular project. Left with no alternatives, we then considered the expected impact on the community were we to proceed with selling a portion of the park for this development.
Furthermore, we considered what other projects might come to fruition if this new project were to locate at the proposed Superior Street site, and how we envision the future of development and redevelopment on Superior Street. The sale of 1.25 acres of East Twin Park will leave the City an additional .75-acre parcel available. We expect that this parcel, along with the rest of the Superior Street commercial corridor, will see further development as a result of this initial project.
We understand the sensitive nature of selling a public park for commercial development. The City is actively considering alternative locations to relocate the amenities from the park, including the skate ramp and basketball court. We are committed to ensuring that, should this development proceed, they are reconstructed in a new area as soon as possible and that they remain accessible to the entire community.
As part of the negotiation to sell a portion of our City park, we believed it was important that the project would have to meet higher aesthetic standards for architecture, construction, and landscaping than any previous commercial development in the City. We also negotiated a purchase amount that was significantly higher than the initial offer and above the per-acre rate for a typical commercial greenfield parcel. It is important to note that the City is not offering any financial incentives towards this project. Instead, the City expects, should this development proceed, to use the tax increment financing (TIF) revenue generated to reinvest in the City’s assets, including downtown revitalization and park improvements. The developer understands the importance and has agreed to all the required terms, as presented in the purchase agreement, should this project proceed as planned.
Based on our due diligence, the City staff recommends that the City Council agrees to sell 1.25 acres of East Twin Park to the developer.
The Mayor, City Council, staff and I are committed to a transparent, open City government. We pledge to keep the citizens informed as soon as the information can be released based on the project. Certain projects, including most economic development projects require some closed door meetings to make the potential project a reality and achieve the greatest benefit for our community.
If you have any questions or require any additional information, please contact:
Jeff Sheridan, City Manager
515 832 9151
Last modified: January 2, 2020