Potential buyer is interested in Garden View

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By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times

A potential buyer is interested in purchasing Monona’s Garden View Senior Community. At the city council’s Sept. 24 meeting, mayor Lynn Martinson said the committee involved in the marketing and sale of the assisted living facility has received a letter of intent that it will sign and send back, giving the potential buyer the right to do due diligence in researching the property.

“It’s nothing binding,” stressed Martinson, who said he simply wanted to keep the council updated on where the committee currently stands.

If a purchase agreement is ever drafted and drawn up, said city administrator Dan Canton, that would be brought before the council for consideration.

The council made the decision to market Garden View earlier this year. The city has owned the facility since it was built 12 years ago, but Martinson and the council members felt maintaining that responsibility was no longer economically prudent.

Sale of property moving forward

The council approved a $1 offer from Russ Bries for purchase of the city owned property at 400 S. Main St. 

The city took possession of the abandoned residential property over the summer and, in the past month, accepted offers for the purchase of the lot.

Canton said provisions of the purchase agreement would require the new owner to tear down the building on the lot by June 30. 

He was unsure whether Bries would intend to build a structure on the property or not, but said Bries was looking for an indication from the city’s zoning board of adjustment as to the building guidelines for the space. Canton stated he was confident the board would commit to some kind of parameters for any potential structures.

Martinson was happy to see the sale moving forward.

“It’s the job of the city to clean up [properties], and we have the opportunity to do that here,” he said. 

According to Martinson, the city has, so far, spent $2,100 in legal fees on this property, and some additional minor closing costs could be expected. It would have cost more to tear it down, though, he noted.

Along with approving the offer, the council also approved a resolution authorizing a public hearing and notice of intent to sell the property. Canton said the council could “pull the final trigger” in the sale of the property at an October meeting.

City takes possession of another abandoned property

The previously-mentioned abandoned residential property isn’t the only one the council discussed at its Sept. 24 meeting. Canton notified the council that the city now owns another, this one located at 605 S. Main St. 

“There are a couple tax sale certificates out there to pay off,” he said, “then we can proceed with the sale of the property.”

Canton tasked council members with developing ideas for what they would like to see done with it, then presenting them at the next meeting. 

He noted it would be helpful to check out the inside of the structure, to see if something could be done with it.

“We’re putting more money into it,” he said, in contrast to the property at 400 S. Main, “but it’s worth more too. There are a lot of options here.”

City considering applying for REAP grant

Canton said he’d like the city to consider applying for another Resource Enhancement and Protection (REAP) grant next year, for a recreational trail extension from Gateway Park to the intersection of South Main and Spruce streets. A $75,000-grant would largely cover the cost for such a project, he estimated.

Monona received REAP grant funding last year, which was put to use this summer to extend the Butterfly Garden to Gateway Park. With that, as well as the restroom project at the city park, wrapping up, Martinson said 2019 would be a good time to take the next step.

“It gives us a year breather,” he said. “We’ve got a lot going on now.”

Canton said the grant application would be due next summer, meaning the project wouldn’t be completed until 2020. He added that he’s contacted Lora Friest, executive director of Northeast Iowa RC&D, who wrote the previous successful REAP grant application, about using her services this time around as well.

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