By a vote of 3 to 1 the Cherokee City Council voted on Tuesday to retain a lot it owns (actually two lots treated as one for potential sale purposes).
The council's action took place after comments were made to the council by Chuck Wulfsen, president of the Cherokee Branch of Central Bank and after opening two bids for the property at 110 and 112 South Fourth Street.
A minimum bid of $1,000 had been set for the property.
The high bid was for $1,701 from Schoon Investments, Inc. The second bid was from Robert "Ben" Jobe, owner of Jobe's Pastime Lounge, adjacent to the vacant lot which is now covered with gravel and used as a parking lot.
Accompanying his bid of $1,000, Jobe had a written comment saying that he was sorry that he couldn't bid more but he would need to spend $5,000 to $7,000 to remove the footings buried under the lot and anywhere from $20,000 to $80,000 to build an addition to the property.
The city of Cherokee had spent about $36,000 to demolish a building on the property that had been donated to the city by Central Bank (then Central Bank & Trust) in 2001. The property is located across the street from the bank.
Wulfsen said that the bank had bought the building on the lot and donated it for the purpose of creating a parking lot. The property had been evaluated at $30,000.
Wulfsen stated that the city council at that time was concerned about the need for additional parking. He said that it would set a bad precedent for the city to sell something that was a substantial donation for a specific purpose.
He advocated that if the city wanted to consider an alternative use for the property, the city should have a collaborative effort with the bank to find an appropriate use. Wulfsen also suggested that the city consider retaining the property for at least another 15 years and then if it decides to sell, give the bank first right of refusal.
Ron Johnson, Dwight Varce and Mick Mallory voted in favor of a motion that the city retain the property. Bob Leach voted against that motion.