|The city of Cold Spring approved purchase of the soon-to-be-vacated Disabled American Veterans property on Alexandria Pike. Officials made the decision at a special meeting of council last night.|
by Robin Gee, city council beat editor
Cold Spring city officials are moving to purchase the 30-acre property soon to be vacated by the Disabled American Veterans.
City council held a brief meeting last night, December 15, and quickly went into executive session to discuss the matter. When they returned, council voted unanimously to approve the mayor and city attorney to negotiate the purchase of the property at 3725 Alexandria Pike from the DAV.
The approval includes the possible issuance of Industrial Revenue Bonds or similar funding options to ensure the collection of taxes on the property.
"The vote allows the city to negotiate and purchase the property from DAV. The city will then utilize IRBs with the payments including PILOT payments (payments in lieu of taxes), [or a similar funding mechanism] in the amount of what the real estate would generate if not owned by the city," explained Cold Spring Mayor D'Angelo Penque.
The use of IRBs is common in development projects in our region. "The exception here is that the full taxes will be paid. Also the city is agreeable to pursuing and acquiring the property, so that the DAV realizes at a minimum the same amount of money as if they had sold directly to Neyer," he said.
Al. Neyer is the developer that had originally planned to purchase the property.
Coveted land in a growing area
Both the city of Cold Spring and the Campbell County School District have expressed strong interest in the DAV property.
Earlier this week the Campbell County School Board voted to gather information for a possible "condemnation" of the property, a term for seizing property under eminent domain. This would have allowed the schools access to examine the property more closely to determine if they wanted to go down that path.
School Superintendent Dr. David Rust said, upon initial inspection, the property "checked all the boxes," as a site for a new middle school. The district has been searching for a site in the northern tier of the county to provide a second school to relieve crowding at the Campbell County Middle School in Alexandria.
Yet once the city owns the property, the school district will not be able to utilize "condemnation" to take the property.
The city had been working to attract a health care facility to the site. Earlier this month, the developer had negotiated an agreement between the DAV and an unnamed health care provider for purchase and development of the land. City officials said a health care facility would bring jobs, additional payroll revenue (due to higher salaries) and property tax income to the city.
Kloeker said he hoped the school district would work with the city to find a solution. "I urge them to reach out to the city and developers to find them another, more suitable location in Cold Spring. There are many opportunities other than the DAV property."