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Unfinished Business: Property Sale To School District Never Completed

 

Members of Sturgeon Bay's City Council Tuesday are scheduled to take final action on a matter that many thought was completed five years ago.

At issue is a portion of the Amity Field property near Sunset School which city and district officials say was intended to be conveyed from the City of Sturgeon Bay to the Sturgeon Bay School District. The district currently uses the parking lot on the property. School District Superintendent Joe Stutting says the issue of ownership came up because the district is exploring resurfacing the lot.

City Administrator Steve McNeil says his research shows the agreement to sell the parcel to the school district for one dollar was drawn up when Kevin O'Donnell was still city administrator. McNeil says the Finance Committee recommended the sale in February of 2007 and that the item also appears on Common Council agendas in both 2007 and 2008. He says the sale was authorized but the sale itself was never completed.

"It just fell through the cracks," says McNeil.

City Attorney Randy Nesbitt says the climate at City Hall at the time may have played a part in the oversight.

"This was a time when Kevin O'Donnell was there and Kevin did not authorize anybody to do anything until he specifically told them to," says Nesbitt.

McNeil says the arrangement was put together at the same time the city was selling several lots on the parcel to Habitat for Humanity for the construction of several homes.

McNeil says the non-completion of the sale wasn't noticed because the property in question wasn't going to be used for something different, "it was being sold to the guy that was using it."

Tuesday's Council meeting will be held immediately after the Board of Public Works meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. Both will take place in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

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