City now taking offers on water tower land


First Posted: 1/13/2009

LIMA - City officials, faced now with a third choice for land for a new water tower, are making a public request for other offers.

City Council approved buying nearly 5 acres of land in the Central Point Business Park, but another option is available, so the purchase is on hold, Utilities Director Gary Sheely said.

The city has decided to notify property owners in the area of Hanthorn Road and state Route 65. They have two weeks to submit proposals about selling their land.

Initially, city and development officials said the Central Point land, for a total $118,000, was the cheapest and best available land they could obtain. Since then, 1st Ward Councilman Ray Magnus found another possible property across the road that wasn't investigated. Officials later deemed the property not feasible.

Now a second property owner, Larry Esmonde, said he was not approached about 4 acres he owns in Central Point. The land is on the same side of the road as the original Central Point property (important because of proximity to a water main) and has complete environmental studies, two concerns of utilities officials.

City officials did not ask about Esmonde's land because they believed it had soil problems similar to ground directly west of Esmonde's property, Sheely said. Now knowing about the soil studies on the property, Sheely said the city would investigate.

The city's first choice was land south of Central Point, in the Gateway industrial park, but owners wanted $40,000 an acre, beyond the project's budget, Sheely said. The city also investigated land at Hanthorn Road and state Route 65, but owners were not responsive, Sheely said.

The city wants to build a new water storage tower in the area to improve flow for existing businesses and future development.