OC Moves To Purchase Gym Property For New Water Treatment Plant
  • Resort officials have approved on first reading an ordinance authorizing
    the purchase of the World Gym property on the bayside at 67th Street, HEDP but not before a debate about its short-term use and a veiled threat of a petition attempting to stop the sale.



    The Mayor and Council had before them on Monday an ordinance for first
    reading that would authorize the town to purchase the existing World Gym
    property at 67th Street for a little over $1.2 million. The
    18,000-square-foot parcel is one piece of a larger collection of
    properties needed by the town for a new water treatment plant in the
    future.



    The existing water treatment plant at 44th Street has been in service
    for over six decades and has outlived its useful life. To that end, the
    town has been piece-meal purchasing parcels in the area of 67th Street
    for the purpose of planning and ultimately building a new water
    treatment plant. Already, the town has purchased the old VFW property in
    the area of 67th Street for the same purpose.



    In September, the council voted to begin condemnation process for the
    gym property, which had been in foreclosure. Later that month, Wells
    Fargo purchased the property for $1.13 million at a public auction on
    the site. Because the town as a municipality was not allowed to
    participate in the public auction during a trustee sale, the town took
    the pre-emptive step to begin the condemnation process for the land.

    Once Wells Fargo bought the parcel at auction, the town was free to
    negotiate a fair market price for the property, which has led to the
    proposed purchase for $1.2 million initiated on Monday. The purchase
    price would be funded through the town’s water department enterprise
    fund, a self-sustaining fund generated by water system user payments.



    The condemnation in September followed by the ordinance proposed at
    first reading on Monday raised eyebrows for some in the community who
    suggested the town was essentially “taking” the property. Before the
    ordinance came to vote on first reading on Monday, Councilman Matt James
    clarified the legitimacy of the purchase process.

    We are purchasing this property from the owner and not taking it,” he
    said. “I just wanted to make that clear because we’ve heard some
    complaints.”



    Councilman John Gehrig said he agreed with the process, but questioned
    what the short-term future was for the property once the purchase was
    complete. An outline in the packet suggested the existing buildings on
    the site would be demolished in advance of the future development of the
    new water treatment plant.



    “When did we discuss what to do with this property once it is
    purchased?” he said. “I don’t want to be bound to it being used in a
    certain way. I’d just like that to be discussed.”


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