By JIM ANDERSON
KINGSFORD - A strip of city-owned property in Kingsford will be sold to Eagle Tool Co. for $15,000 under a plan that won preliminary approval from the city council Monday.
The council voted 4-1 to approve the concept for the sale as drafted by its Negotiations Committee.
Brian Smeester voted no, saying the city should have the option to potentially hike the price to help cover utility costs.
A purchase agreement will be prepared for approval at a future council meeting.
Eagle Tool wants the property to accommodate expansion of its 101 Woodward Ave. facility, but has yet to present a timetable or site plan.
The city is requiring approval of such plan before relinquishing a utility easement, but in the meantime will go ahead with the sale. The parcel, approximately 20 feet by 200 feet, is directly east of the company's Kingsford operations.
The sale is complicated by a potential $63,000 expense to relocate and upgrade water mains, although much of that work could be delayed for years, according to city officials.
Council member Dennis Baldinelli said water upgrades will eventually be needed regardless of whether Eagle Tool acquires the property. With the sale, he noted, the city will receive a boost in its tax base and the promise of new jobs.
Smeester argued that the city should retain more negotiating power.
Eagle Tool has been represented by attorney Peter Ryan of Iron Mountain, who attended Monday's meeting and thanked the council for its decision.
The company has indicated that installation of a new computer-aided metalworking machine - once proposed for Kingsford - will take place elsewhere, but there remains a need for more workers and space at its Woodward Avenue site.
In connection with the property sale, the cities of Iron Mountain and Kingsford have both agreed to vacate a section of Woodward Avenue bordering Eagle Tool, effectively preventing that street from ever being extended into Iron Mountain.
Members of Kingsford's Negotiations Committee are City Manager Tony Edlebeck, Mayor Michael Flaminio, Council Member Jeff Pearson and City Attorney Bruce Brouillette.
In other action Monday, the council:
- Heard Edlebeck report that the Hoadley Avenue reconstruction project has been substantially completed. A power pole on the south side of the street must yet be moved by We Energies.
- Authorized a lease agreement for Maranatha Assembly of God Church, 920 South Carpenter Ave. The church partially encroaches on a sewer line right-of-way owned by the Iron Mountain-Kingsford Joint Sewage Board. The proposed 10-year lease rate is $100 per year for 10 years, which would be split by the cities. There have been legal discussions over this situation dating back three years, Brouillette said. He suggested the city consider an application fee for future right-of-way leases.
- Scheduled a public hearing for 6:45 p.m. Monday, Sept. 17, on a zoning variance request for a side yard set-back from Chad McCole, who wants to expand the garage at his home at 812 Michael St.
Jim Anderson's email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.