By Ivan Raconteur
LESTER PRAIRIE, MN For nearly a decade, the city of Lester Prairie has been dealing with issues related to the property at 100 Maple Street South, and now, it appears the city will be able to do something about it.
Once a landmark in the downtown area, the former hotel served as a haven for travelers who arrived in town by rail, and, later, it was operated as a nursing home.
After years of neglect, however, the now vacant structure has been deemed a public safety hazard, and the city has incurred legal costs as it fought to get the problems resolved.
When the property went into foreclosure and was listed for sale, the city council saw an opportunity to acquire the property for development.
The council authorized Council Member Ron Foust to negotiate a purchase agreement for the property.
Initially, the price was more than the council was willing to pay, but, during Tuesday’s meeting, Foust announced that he had reached an agreement for the city to purchase the property for $30,000.
The expected closing date for the sale is Nov. 22.
The council authorized Foust to proceed with a purchase agreement for the property on a 4-1 vote, with Foust, Mayor Andy Heimerl, and council members Bob Messer and Sandie Adams-Bruins in favor, and Council Member Eric Angvall opposed. Angvall did not specify a reason for voting against the motion.
The next steps in the process will be to look at options for removing the existing buildings. Heimerl said he would contact Fire Chief Jim Hoof regarding conducting a controlled burn. The city will also get a quote for having the buildings demolished.
The council has previously discussed the possibility of developing senior housing on the site, which, according to the listing on realtor.com, is 0.94 acres.
The council has expressed the desire to do something to improve the appearance of the property, which is adjacent to Central Square Park in downtown Lester Prairie.
By consensus, the council agreed to address removal of the buildings first, and begin looking at development options in January.