Plans to sell city property on Fourth Street that is currently used for a parking lot was put on hold at the Tuesday meeting of the Cherokee City Council.
This is the fourth time the city council has proceeded with obtaining bids for the property since the lot with a building on it was donated by Central Bank (at that time Central Bank & Trust) in 2001 with the understanding that the city would demolish the building, fill in the basement and create a parking lot.
The bank had paid $30,000 for the building (incorrectly stated as $10,000 in an earlier Chronicle Times report) and the city paid $37,000 for demolition and filling the lot.
Because footings were left in the ground as it was filled, the lot cannot be built on or even paved without excavating and refilling.
Robert "Ben" Jobe has repeatedly expressed interest in using the lot, which is next to his business "Jobe's Pastime Lounge," to expand his building or create an outdoor area for his business.
The first time the city had put the property up for bid was in 2003 when the city had required a minimum bid of $12,750 for the property.
Jobe bid $1,000 at that time. Jobe's bid was rejected as not meeting the minimum required for the property.
Bids were solicited once again in 2005, this time with a minimum set at $1,000, but at a July 2005 city council meeting, the council voted 3 to 2 to reject the one bid submitted without opening it.
In June of 2006, bids were again solicited with a minimum set at $1,000. Two bids were submitted. The high bid of $1,701 was submitted by Schoon Investments, Inc. Jobe again submitted a bid of $1,000.
The council voted 3 to 1 to reject both bids.
At a meeting last month, the council voted 4 to 1 to once again solicit bids for the property with a minimum bid set at $1,000.
There were two bids submitted. Jobe suggested that the council put the opening of bids on hold until the next meeting while he and Chuck Wulfsen, Central Bank president, discuss a potential agreement.
Prior to this, Wulfsen made comments to the council critical of the council's plans to sell the property. He said Central Bank had spent $30,000 for the property and donated the property with the understanding that it would be a parking lot.
He said that the building on the other side of the Pastime Lounge is available and could be purchased for expansion plans.
Wulfsen said the bank would be willing to participate financially in improving the lot.
The motion to table the bids until the next meeting passed 4 to 1, with Bob Leach voting against that motion.