McLouth officials scurrying to meet grant deadline for community center
by Dennis Sharkey
Community officials in McLouth are almost to the finish line, but one hurdle remains in submitting a grant for a new community center building.
Last Tuesday, Oct. 19, the McLouth City Council approved three documents crucial to the process. However, one very important document is still missing and some concerning questions have been raised about the document.
City Attorney Carol Bonebrake told Recreation Commission member Cliff Weeks that she needs a title insurance document or an abstract document showing that the school district is the legal owner of the property that will be donated to the city for the building. The initial appraisal of the land is $29,500.
Weeks said he didn’t know if the document existed and if it did, it would be in the hands of the superintendent’s office.
Bonebrake said a paragraph in the warranty deed issued by the Jefferson County Record of Deeds office raised some concerns for her. She said it indicates to her that there could be a potential problem with the property’s title. Weeks indicated that the property purchased had belonged to one family. However, the property was initially purchased by the Recreation Commission which is not legal according to state statute. The Commission then sold the property to the McLouth USD 342.
Weeks indicated that he thought the warranty deed would be enough. However, Bonebrake said having everything correct is crucial to completing a real estate contract. The school district has to transfer the land to the city before the building can be constructed.
“The last thing we want to do is assume responsibility for a piece of property that has a title issue,” Bonebrake said. “If you’ve ever been on the south end of one of these it isn’t pretty.”
The city approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Recreation Commission. The city will be the facilitator of the grant, but the Recreation Commission will be responsible for the maintenance and operation of the building.
Also secured by the city were letters from the school board and the Recreation Commission pledging their parts to the puzzle. The district is donating the land while the Recreation Commission is pledging $200,000 of its own funds. The grant being sought would add $400,000 for a total project of about $600,000.
The deadline for the grant is Friday, Oct. 29.
In other actions:
• City Clerk Kim Perry presented a report indicating that the city’s insurance for employees will spike on average 12 percent. The highest increase in premiums is for employees with children on their coverage. Perry said other vendors have been contacted and other options are being explored.
• The city’s clean up efforts have concluded and the phase of collecting information of code violations has begun with letters being sent to violators to follow soon. City Administrator Carl Chalfant said the city’s issue with recreational vehicles being parked on city streets may be able to be addressed through code violations.
• It was incorrectly reported two weeks ago that the final payment had been made on the East Cynthia Street water line project and that the job was closed out. A $69,000 payment was made, but the final payment of more than $10,000 was made at Tuesday, Oct. 19, meeting. The project exceeded the bid price by about $10,000 because of items added to the scope of the project. Chalfant said the majority of items added were old water meters.
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