Village to Consider Purchase of Former Alexander Lumber Lot
Nov 23, 2016 05:56PM ● Published by Steven Jack
The former Alexander Lumber property has sat as an unused eyesore in Downtown Oswego for nearly 10 years. (File photo)
The village has offered $1,492,500 for the property, and if the purchase is approved by Trustees at a special meeting next week, the Village will proceed with the closing sometime before Dec. 31.
”Revitalization of our downtown has been a top priority for this board. This acquisition will strengthen our ability to bring people, jobs and momentum to the heart of Oswego. That's what economic development is all about, said Village President Gail Johnson.
The Village’s 2015 Comprehensive Plan and the Downtown Tax Increment Financing District have identified the development of the former lumber yard site as a project that will spark the redevelopment of Downtown Oswego.
With the purchase, the Village hopes to ensure the future development contains a mix of commercial use, residential units and public parking. It also allows the Village to accelerate potential development, instead of waiting for the land to be sold to a developer.
Oswego Economic Development Director Corinna Cole said she hopes the development will spur additional investment in the downtown.
“Private investment often follows public investment," she said. "By kick-starting this critical project, we can bring in new businesses, jobs and shoppers that will also patronize the existing businesses. This will help create a sense of destination vital to the success of our downtown.”
According to village documents, the purchase will be made with use of village reserve funds. The village normally operates with a reserve fund balance of 35 percent of annual operating expenditures, which are about $17 million.
Johnson said she's confident the use of reserve funds won't put the village in a difficult position in the future.
"Our Finance Director Mark Horton is one of the most conservative guys around, and he has said the money is there," Johnson said.
Johnson said the village hopes to recoup the costs of the purchase with the sale of the current police station, which has been appraised at $1.5 million. Thee village is currently in the early stages of constructing a new police station on Woolley Road.
If the land purchase is approved by the Village Board, officials have said they plan to speed up talks with interested developers. Johnson said Wednesday afternoon that the village is currently in talks with three developers who are all "very interested" in the property.