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Hearing Date Set For Sale Of Old Middle School

By Staff | Jun 2, 2009

With a tentative offer to purchase the old Middle School Building on the table, the Emmetsburg Community School Board adopted a resolution to acknowledge the offer. Board members also set a date for a public hearing on the sale of the building and property during a special meeting over the noon hour on Friday, May 29 in the Emmetsburg High School Library.

“We have an official offer for the Middle School,” noted John Joynt, Superintendent of the Emmetsburg Community Schools, “We also will likely have another offer for the building at our June 15 meeting. But, there is no official action until after the June 15 meeting on the sale of the property.”

Joynt continued, “I asked the district lawyer how to proceed if we’re entertaining different offers at different times, and he said the board has the authority to do as they see fit for the community.”

Joynt noted the board has an offer for $15,000 for the building and that a community group wants to put the building to a community use, and would have more information for the board by the June 15 meeting.

Mike Wentzel, representing the Farmers National Company, was on hand to make the formal offer for the purchase on behalf of Muleli Jackson Nikesha, a resident of the Los Angeles area. “If you look on the front page of this offer, you will see that it expires at 5 p.m. on May 29, 2009, which is today. This offer is subject to the buyers obtaining financing no later than Monday, June 1. If it isn’t acted on today, technically, it’s null and void.”

Wentzel continued, “in speaking with the superintendent last week, it was my understanding that he was going to recommend to the board that you accept the offer, but at the last minute now, somebody else has come forward.”

“Everything was contingent on a public hearing,” Joynt reiterated.

“My question would be is the Casey’s thing complete yet?” asked Board Member Don Hagen about that firm’s purchase of the northern lots of the Middle School property

Joynt replied that transaction had not been finalized, and Wentzel added that an agreement to sell a portion of the Middle School property had been signed with Casey’s pending certain stipulations.

“My point is that if we go and sell the building, I’d hate to have that ground given back to us if that sale doesn’t go through.” Hagen said.

“I know Casey’s doesn’t like controversy,” Wentzel said, “and if this thing gets prolonged….”

“Exactly,” Hagen said, “That’s my fear. Until this Casey’t thing is a done deal…”

The discussion changed gears as Wentzel explained that Nikesha had visited Emmetsburg three weeks ago to view the building. “His wife is a student in the nursing program at Iowa Lakes, and he tells me it is his intention, to make it into some type of housing for nursing students at the college. In visiting with his wife, she explained there is a shortage of housing for nursing students, and many of them have to live out of town, so there would be a need for housing like this. I checked on his earnest money check of $2,500 and it is good. I don’t know him personally, and all I can tell you about him is what he’s told me.”

Board President Karla Anderson asked Joynt about the community group that had expressed interest in the building.

“Margay Gross, who grew up in town and lives here part-time, and Dick Jackman are interested in a community project,” Joynt said. “They just don’t have an offer today. They would like some time and will have communication with me before the June 15 meeting.”

Joynt recommended the board acknowledge receipt of the offer and set the public hearing date on June 15 to act on the offer.

“As I see it, you have four options today,” Wentzel said. “You can accept this offer, reject it, reject it with a counter offer or simply say the property is not for sale.”

“I differ in opinion,” Joynt said. “We can accept it pending a public hearing and that’s what we have to do.”

As the board discussed what course to take, Wentzel noted that the situation was now disadvantageous to his bidder. “Now the other people know what he offered.”

“I would agree with that,” Hagen said. “I would hope we accept it. We’ve had this property on sale for over a year, and now I think we should go into this with the idea that we’re going to accept this.”

“I think the resolution could be considered a counter offer to your bidder,” High School Principal Jay Jurrens spoke up. “It’s saying the board is acknowledging the bid, but that they can’t act on it till June 15.”

“Keep in mind that he has until Monday to come up with financing and if that doesn’t happen, then its all for naught,” Wentzel added.

Board member Steve Pelzer moved to introduce and approve the resolution to acknowledge the receipt of a bid and set 5:30 p.m. on June 15 in the High School Library as the time and place for a public hearing on the proposed sale. Board member Dave VanOosbree offered a second to the motion, which was passed on a unanimous vote.