The Ottumwa Courier

Southeast Iowa

August 15, 2013

Washington offers VA Lease to City of Knoxville



Mike Roberts, representing KVA, did present the idea of the City taking over the lease as a hypothetical concept, but to this point the City has not received an official offer from KVA for consideration.  Should the City receive an official offer for consideration there are a few questions the City should consider during the decision process. First, how much of a role should the City take in the redevelopment of the property?  How much should the City do and how much should be left to the private sector?  Should the City take on the role of owning the property? There are pros and cons to the answers of these questions.  Second, if the City determines that it needs to take on the role of owning the property should this be done by leasing the property for 75 years or should it seek permanent ownership?  Finally, how does the City bear the costs associated with a project of this magnitude? Will the Federal Government provide funding to address the infrastructures issues facing the project due to years of vacancy and minimal maintenance?  The City understands and is concerned about the costs to the community if the property continues to deteriorate, however, the City needs to consider what is the best solution over the long term of the foreseeable future.

At this point the City is trying to do what it can to help KVA successfully negotiate a lease with the VA for the property so they as private developers can take the lead.  Should, for whatever reason, this no longer be feasible and viable the City will have to reassess how best to move the community forward while taking into consideration the questions outlined above.

We will continue to follow this story as it moves forward.

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