|City officials are confident of their plan to purchase the former Disabled American Veterans property.|
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As reported earlier the Cold Spring city council voted 4-0 to approve the purchase of the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) property at 3725 Alexandria Pike, hoping to move the project along.
At the meeting to discuss and vote on a resolution, Mayor D. Angelo Penque summed up why the city was moving ahead with purchasing the property outright instead of an earlier plan for the developer Al. Neyer to purchase. The property is highly valuable to the city, and by stepping in and taking ownership, the city can help facilitate its development.
"I’ve had a number of conversations with a number of high-end realtors ...that property is the most valuable property in Campbell County, because it has everything. It’s got almost 30 acres and has all the utilities, everything’s there... For the city and for our citizens, it’s just a great opportunity. I’m really excited about it," said Penque.
Clearing the way for a health care facility
City attorney Brandon Voelker likened the move by the city to buy the property as similar to the city of Covington’s purchase of the former IRS property. "It ensures growth and development in the right way. This is not anti-school. People typically don’t build a school in most sought after commercial property in the area."
He assured council that the move in no way reflects any hesitancy or lack of commitment on the part of St. Elizabeth Healthcare, which announced plans to build a facility on the property once it becomes available for redevelopment.
"To the contrary...the fact that the property would be out of litigation at that point should expedite St. Elizabeth’s involvement," he said. But, he was clear to note that the move to purchase does also bring with it, in the event St. Elizabeth was to pull out, the understanding that the property would belong to and be the responsibility of the city.
This gives the city control over what happens, but it is a commitment, Voelker noted.
With the purchase, the city will request that a lis pendens filed on the
property by the Campbell County School Board be removed to facilitate
development plans for the property. This will help with obtaining a
mortgage, he said.
Penque said he is confident of the St. Elizabeth’s interest, but regardless, the city is committed to having a healthcare facility within the city limits. The benefits of having healthcare nearby with high-paying jobs and all the ancillary effects on area businesses such as income from employees and visitors in local shops and restaurants makes this a good move,” he said.
Some of the resolution involves laying out the parameters of how payment and leasing may happen depending on how the DAV wants to handle their exit from the property. It is clear the new DAV facility in Erlanger will not be ready for some time, and the DAV has expressed a desire to stay on their current property until their new building is ready. Whether or not the city will pay right away for the property and then lease it to the DAV or make a plan to close at a later date saving some interest on a loan, will be worked out with the DAV. The resolution covered a number of scenarios so that the mayor would be authorized to enter into any agreements necessary with the DAV.
Benefits to the city
The mayor noted that the DAV is a nonprofit entity and so only paid the city payroll taxes. With the St. Elizabeth facility there would be income for the city through both property and payroll taxes. St. Elizabeth would bring in about 240 employees with the average salary between $85,000 and $100,000. This would not only benefit the city’s coffers, he said, but also go to support the schools, the fire department and other public entities reliant on property taxes.
"It’s a tremendous income revenue stream for the city. We’ve always kept our property taxes low, that’s been one of the goals of the city and the council to keep taxes low, never raised taxes. And, we are the only city this year I think that lowered taxes. It’s a plus-plus," Penque said.
Council member Lisa Cavanaugh added, "An opportunity like this doesn't come along often for a small town like ours, and I think this is important for the future of our city, for financial stability, and I think that's part of our job as elected officials."
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