The city of Clear Lake is moving forward with its park expansion project.
The Clear Lake City Council unanimously approved a resolution to purchase and acquire the Cerro Gordo County Maintenance Garage at 109 S. 15th St. for $250,000 Monday evening.
“It’s just a very significant opportunity to improve that area next to the pool, and I’d also like to thank the county supervisors for working with us on this,” said Bennett Smith, Clear Lake city councilman. “They’ve been great to work with, so again a very collaborative kind of project that will help all of North Iowa … I think it’ll be an exciting project.”
The property, which is adjacent to the Clear Lake Aquatic Center, will be the future site of the city’s inclusive playground as well as other park improvements.
The Everybody Plays Committee has been fundraising for the inclusive playground in Clear Lake, estimated to cost at least $275,000, for more than two years, and the committee announced in September that it’ll break ground on its project in 2021.
Everybody Plays is a community initiative to build an inclusive playground in Clear Lake that would provide children and adults of all ages and abilities the opportunity to play together.
It was the committee’s goal to begin construction on the inclusive playground this summer, but because of fundraising and the COVID-19 pandemic, it decided to delay it until 2021.
The council’s action comes a month after it approved a resolution to issue general obligation debt in an amount not to exceed $600,000 to the property and the former Woodford Lumber & Home Co. building on North Fourth Street for future park and library expansion projects, respectively.
The city has been exploring the acquisition of the two properties since at least November.
City Administrator Scott Flory reviewed the offer to buy real estate and acceptance with the City Council during its meeting.
The city is offering to purchase the property as is for $250,000, plus incidental expenses to complete the sale, which will be paid at the time of closing, the document states.
According to the offer document, the closing will take place no later than 20 days after the Cerro Gordo County Engineering and Secondary Roads Department moves to its new location at 17274 Lark Ave. in Mason City, near the county law enforcement center.
Flory anticipates that to happen sometime this spring.
Flory, Smith and Mayor Nelson Crabb negotiated the offer with Cerro Gordo County, which is “significantly less than what the appraised value of the property was estimated at by an outside consulting firm,” he said.
“Again, their taxpayers are our taxpayers, and I think it’s a great example of government entities working together for the betterment of a community project,” Flory said.
Councilman Mike Callanan said the purchase of the property marks the continued transformation of South 15th Street, which was once the location of several city and county maintenance sheds and is now becoming a destination for Clear Lakers and North Iowans with the aquatic center, future park expansion and new housing units.
“It’s just a giant transformation in that area, and some very nice amenities for the citizens of Clear Lake showing up, so I’m excited,” he said.
The sale is subject to the approval of the Cerro Gordo County Board of Supervisors after a public hearing.
The item wasn’t on the county board’s agenda Monday morning. Its next meeting is at 10 a.m. Tuesday.
Ashley Stewart covers Clear Lake and arts and entertainment in North Iowa for the Globe Gazette. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 641-421-0533. Follow Ashley on Twitter at GGastewart.