A recommendation to the Louisa County Board of Supervisors for the sale of multiple parcels of the Hoover Nature Trail (HNT) was approved by the Louisa County Conservation Board (LCCB) at a special meeting Monday.
According to the LCCB’s recommendation, approximately 9.8 acres comprising several parcels, all located south of Iowa Highway 78 near Morning Sun, would be sold to McDonald, Ltd., for $30,744 or approximately $3,130 per acre. .
Another 1.8 acres about 2.5 miles northeast of Morning Sun would be sold to Black’s Bluff, Inc., for the same price per acre or a total price of about $5,635.
In previous discussions with the two owners, the LCCB had set a price per acre of $4,200, which county officials said both owners had agreed to. Under this initial proposal, the acreage for sale at Black’s Bluff remained the same, but McDonald, Ltd. would have acquired only about 7.46 acres.
However, by limiting McDonald’s sale to just 7.46 acres, LCCB officials pointed out that several islands of county property would remain in the area and be too isolated for public use or maintenance.
A report from LCCB Vice President Josh Hardin led to a solution. Hardin said he recently spoke to company representative Ron McDonald to determine if his company was interested in acquiring some of these additional plots. In earlier discussions, McDonald had indicated that he might be interested in acquiring some of the additional parcels if necessary.
According to Hardin, McDonald’s agreed to the additional acquisitions, but only for the same total total payment of $30,744 that it had negotiated with the board earlier.
The council then agreed to recommend this option to supervisors and apply the same price per acre to the Black’s Bluff plot.
Supervisors should hold a public hearing on the sale after receiving the recommendation from the LCCB.
In separate action on Monday, LCCB executive director Katie Hammond announced that a bid to install playground equipment at Eden Park had finally been received. The board was struggling to secure a bid, but Hammond said a proposal from Blue Bird Construction, of Rock Falls, Illinois, was submitted.
The council accepted the offer of $20,000, which will be covered by donations and other income.
In final action, Hammond asked the council to appoint a committee to investigate a possible acquisition of outbuildings from a property near the council’s maintenance shop in Wapello.
According to the discussion and other reports, Wapello Development Corporation (WDC) recently purchased an area south of the LCCB maintenance hangar and three buildings are to be moved from it.
Since Hardin and LCCB member Brad Quigley are associated with the WDC, LCCB members Joellen Schantz and Elizabeth Kling agreed to serve on the committee along with Hammond and maintenance manager Noah Robb. The committee will then review the buildings and determine if the LCCB can use the buildings and a bid amount.
Schantz also indicated that the committee could recommend that the LCCB ask the WDC to donate the buildings.