Selling parkland

Thursday, May 22, 2008

The proposed sale of just over an acre of land in County Park North, one of the bookend parks that create a visually beautiful entrance to Cape Girardeau, has generated much discussion.

Over several months, the Cape Girardeau County Commission has discussed the sale of a 70-foot strip along the park's western edge. The parcel is adjacent to a much larger tract owned by Dan Drury and Bob Hahn of Mid-America Hotels. That land is prime for commercial development, being located at a major Interstate 55 exit. The tentative price for the 1.24-acre strip is $300,000.

Some members of the Cape Girardeau County Board of Park Commissioners, an advisory group, said they should have been included in the discussions. Many of their concerns were addressed in a meeting earlier this week with Presiding Commissioner Gerald Jones, who promised the county would study the sale further, obtain its own appraisal and check to see if there are any restrictions on selling parkland.

Other concerns have been raised by members of the public who don't want any portion of parkland to be sacrificed.

Drury and Hahn say the strip would be used as a landscape buffer between the park and commercial development.

Selling parkland is not an easy decision, which is one reason negotiations have lasted so long. The commission is taking important steps in assessing this issue. In the end, it can be expected to make a decision in the best interests of the county.

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