Board recommends sale of properties

Herald Staff Writer

JASPER — The Jasper Board of Public Works and Safety voted 2-1 on Tuesday to recommend that the city offer five underutilized properties for sale.

Those properties are the 30-acre Bockelman property along Mill Street north of Municipal Golf Course, the 19-acre Lechner property near Lechner and Gregory lanes, the 13-acre 30th Street Park and 10 acres northwest of St. Charles Street and Truman Road and less than a tenth of an acre southeast of 15th and Newton streets, which was acquired years ago when that intersection was widened.

Board members Tim Bell and Mayor Terry Seitz voted to sell all the properties. Board member Dave Prechtel voted against that. He said he would rather see the city hold onto the Bockelman property, which adjoins Municipal Golf Course.

“We’re going to get input on the country club property and the downtown plan,” he said. “I think we might wait until some of that washes out before we sell that property and go ahead and list the other properties for sale.”

Public meetings will be held Aug. 20 about the city’s downtown master plan and in September about the former Jasper Country Club property that the city purchased in April. Consultants Barry Alberts of Louisville-based CityVisions and David Gamble of Boston-based Gamble Associates will give recommendations on how the areas can be developed and take public comments on those suggestions.

The city park board recommended last month that the Bockelman property not be sold because it adjoins Municipal Golf Course.

The final decision on which properties to sell rests with the city council. The next regular council meeting will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 21, at City Hall.

Mike Braun, owner of Meyer Distributing, said at a public hearing prior to the board’s decision Tuesday that he and Streicher Construction, which is on the east side of Mill Street across from the golf course, would be very interested in buying the Bockelman property. Meyer Distributing is in an industrial business area east of the Bockelman property.

“It is pretty well built out,” Braun said, indicating that no more property in that area is available for future growth.

Allowing the Bockelman property to be purchased would bring revenue to the city, Braun said.
“Right now, it’s sitting there not producing any tax revenue,” he said. “If it is offered for sale, you’d have eager buyers.”

Seitz said at the meeting that putting the properties, including the Bockelman property, up for sale was the main factor that convinced council members to use $1,030,610 of the city’s rainy day fund to buy almost 60 acres of the former Jasper Country Club property.

“It is my preference that we put those properties up for sale,” he said. “To know that there is a specific development in mind (for the Bockelman property) reinforces even more that we have that obligation to the city.”

Braun was one of three people who spoke during the hearing.

Paul Lorey, who lives on East 15th Street, said he’s not opposed to selling the Bockelman property. But he’d prefer that “we keep a little bit of a buffer on the end of the golf course, just in case (the course) would need to expand in the future,” Lorey said, “or to keep a safety window from slicing golf balls on the No. 4 tee.”

Mike Matthews asked that the board keep a 100-foot berm of trees at the back of 30th Street Park; the berm separates the park from Matthews’ property on Virginia Avenue.

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