With proceeds of sale, city plans to replace loss of those 5 fields with 7 new fields at another location starting this summer
By ELLY GRIMM
• Leader & Times
The Liberal City Commission conducted a special meeting Wednesday night to discuss a couple of items, one being a property purchase agreement with Price Properties, LLC for 11.3 acres of city property at 7th Street and Western Avenue. The property is currently home to a softball and baseball complex.
Price Properties plans to use the land for retail development with the potential for future development.
The commission was quick to explain that proceeds from the sale will allow for construction of new ball fields to replace the fields lost through the development deal. The plan is to be able to begin the next softball and baseball seasons on the new fields.
“We had worked closely with the developer to make sure the time frame will allow us to work on those new ball fields this summer so we can get grass and irrigation in this year,” economic development director Jeff Parsons said.
After a unanimous vote on the purchase agreement, Liberal Mayor Joe Denoyer thanked staff for their work on the project and declared the meeting adjourned.
Jason Price of Price Properties, LLC, was contacted earlier today to ascertain the name of the initial retailer who would take over that spot but due to the confidentiality agreement in place, he was not able to divulge that information. He did say he hoped to be able to disclose the retailer in a few days.
The commission conducted a discussion on vacating a portion of Reefer Road. These 12 acres of land will be going to the company T.W.B.J. and their sister company Wilson Trailer of Sioux City, Iowa, to set up a service and sales facility at that location. The plan is for them to come in today so the land can officially be closed on with a groundbreaking ceremony, which was scheduled for 11 a.m. today.
“The city will be building Reefer Road down to their plotline and they don’t intend to carry that Reefer Road down through their property,” Parsons explained. “They had asked that we vacate that portion in the plans.”
After the public hearing portion of this was done, the commission had its first and final reading of Ordinance No. 4428 which officially allows the city to vacate a portion of Reefer Road located in a parcel of the Liberal Industrial Addition. The motion was agreed to unanimously.
The next item was Resolution No. 2197 that says when Wilson Trailer was referenced in the original discussion back in March, the commission was actually referring to T.W.B.J. as the purchaser. The purpose of the resolution was to tie today’s groundbreaking to the March discussions. The resolution was adopted unanimously.
“We’re doing this so the closing can offically proceed,” City Attorney Shirla McQueen said.
I would just like to say thank you to staff, Jeff Parsons, Mark Hall and Chris Ford for their work in putting this project together and thinking, “outside the box.” It is this creative-type thinking, whether it is the sale of a unique piece of property, developing programs like a CID, a TIF, an RHID, Neighborhood Revitalization and Specials, that will keep Liberal moving forward and meeting the needs of all of our residents.
I would like to also thank Price Properties LLC for their investment in the City of Liberal in this win-win endeavor.
For years, the city has been looking at upgrading, improving and adding baseball and softball fields to the city, but due to lack of funding, were not able to do so.
With the sale of this property and the investment of Price Properties LLC, the city not only will be able to add at least seven new state of the art ball fields, but will also get additional retail development within the city, all at no cost to the taxpayer.
The construction of the new fields should start this summer with a goal to begin next baseball and softball seasons on the new fields.
To the citizens of Liberal, I want to assure you, that the City of Liberal always has and always will have a commitment to the youth and adult recreation programs in Liberal, and we look to only improve and enhance these programs and make them better.
To my fellow commissioners, I want to say thank you for your diligence to adhering to the confidentiality agreement that comes with this project. I know it has been hard, but worth it in the long run.
Again, I say this is an exciting time in Liberal, and just a beginning of many more good things to come.