Negotiating land

September 6, 2013 

Many members of our Lee’s Summit community worked tirelessly earlier this year to pass an arts bond issue.

I’m not going to rehash what we had to go through to get that on the ballot or the hours and hours of conversations we had in hammering out exactly what we would be voting on.

In the end, though, we passed a no-tax-increase bond that would improve the Legacy Park Amphitheater, construct an outdoor performance space in downtown Lee’s Summit and transform old city hall into the new Lee’s Summit Historical Society Museum.

While it’s obvious that some of these bond projects cannot come immediately to fruition, it’s worth noting one major gap – the city still does not own the land on which they hoped to build this outdoor performance space in downtown Lee’s Summit.

Negotiations have been in place with the landowner, former city council candidate Dusty Dahmer, for quite some time. And perhaps the two sides are getting closer on finding some common ground on the payment price.

But it hasn’t happened. And it’s hampering progress.

Dahmer paid north of $230,000 for the land north of Third Street west of SW Main and east of Market Street, in 2007.

I’m not a real estate wizard, so I do not portend to even guesstimate what kind of check Dahmer should be handed for this piece of property.

My hope is that he is going to weigh being a property owner/businessman and being a good citizen/community leader and do the right thing here.

I don’t think Dahmer needs to buckle on price as much as he and city need to sit down – perhaps with a third party, attorney, real estate professional, or all three – and hammer this deal out.

All assumptions were that when this issue was put on the ballot, the land purchase was a foregone conclusion. That wasn’t the case and here we sit, more than five months later, without a resolution.

A formidable committee of community leaders is currently planning our city’s 150th anniversary for 2015.

When you couple that with the need to know exactly how much money the outdoor space will be left with (from the $600,000 piece of the bond issue) once you buy the land – and the need to have this area done very early in 2015 for the celebration – we come to a very evident conclusion.

The city and Dahmer need to close the deal on the land and then get a photo opp of all parties involved shaking hands and handing over the deed.

Our arts community, downtown community and, most importantly, the voting community that approved this bond, demand nothing less.

John Beaudoin is the publisher of the Lee’s Summit Journal. To comment, call 816-282-7001 or e-mail jbeaudoin@lsjournal.com.

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