The Cherokee City Council will review bids, if any, on June 13 for a vacant lot on Fourth Street but may decide not to sell it.
On a three to two vote last week, the city council decided to solicit bids for the third time on the lot (actually two lots treated as one) that is now covered with gravel and used for parking. It is west of the paved Maple Street parking lot.
In November of 2001 the city accepted a donation of the property at 110 and 112 South Fourth Street which had been obtained by Central Trust & Savings (now Central Bank) with the understanding that the city would demolish the building at the location and make additional parking.
Building demolition was complicated by the fact that Jobe's Pastime Lounge, owned by Robert "Ben" Jobe, shared a wall with the building to be demolished. For a time in December of 2001, part of the wall from Jobe's business was missing, allowing freezing air to come in. The contractor subsequently repaired the wall.
The lot above the filled in basement is settling and no building can be erected on it without reexcavating the lot and refilling it. The cost to the city for creating the vacant lot was about $37,000. It can accommodate parking for four vehicles.
The city had put the property up for bid in the spring of 2003, setting a minimum bid of $12,750. Jobe submitted the only bid at that time for $1,000. Jobe had talked about making a beer garden on the property but his bid for the property did not represent any commitment to use the lot for a specific purpose.
In 2005, the city council decided to put the property up for sale with a minimum bid of $1,000 but at a meeting in July of 2005, the council voted three to two to retain the lot. The one bid submitted for the property was unopened.
At the city council meeting last week, the council again set a minimum bid at $1,000 but it was still far from certain that the minimum bid would be enough to buy the lot.
Doug Woods, Bob Leach and Mick Mallory voted to put the lot up for sale. Dwight Varce and Ron Johnson voted against that motion.
Mallory was a reluctant yes vote, noting that putting the lot up for bid does not compel the council to approve a bid for the property. Mallory said that since the city paid money on Jobe's wall, it would be appropriate for some of that money to be paid back to the city.