Cape County Commission could decide on park land sale Thursday

Wednesday, July 9, 2008
KIT DOYLE ~ kdoyle@semissourian.com West Lane Elementary fourth graders picked teams near the property line at Cape Girardeau County Park North Wednesday, May 7, 2008 that the County Commission is considering selling to Mid-America Hotels.

The Cape Girardeau County Commission could decide Thursday whether to sell a strip of Cape County Park North to Mid-America Hotels.

The issue, on the agenda for discussion and possible action at 9:30 a.m., is one of two major items before the commission. The other is a decision on whether to spend $250,000 for a 911 upgrade for the Cape Girardeau central dispatch system.

Both items have raised questions and objections. The park land sale, given preliminary approval in an April closed meeting, would turn over 1.24 acres of park land at the north end of the park to the Cape Girardeau-based hotel and restaurant company for an unspecified development. Mid-America Hotels owns the adjacent land between the park and Interstate 55.

When the land deal was first revealed in early May, it surprised and angered several members of the county's Board of Park Commissioners, a seven-member board that advises the commission on park issues. The board had not formally discussed the land sale and whether they believed it was in the county's best interest.

Presiding Commissioner Gerald Jones met with the park board on May 19. He said Wednesday that while he believes he answered the board's questions at that time, he would recommend on Thursday that the final deal be referred to the board.

"After we have discussed it, I will talk to those guys," he said. "I am not ready or prepared to get into another controversy."

The radio dispatch system upgrade is slated for installation at Cape Girardeau's new firehouse and the proposals have been thoroughly examined by the E-911 board, emergency operations director Richard Knaup said.

The proposal from Warner Communications of St. Louis will meet the county's needs, Knaup said. The board reviewed objections raised by Reg Swan, co-owner of JCS Tel-Link, which also sought the contract, and recommended that Warner be awarded the contract.

"The entire committee has went over those concerns and looked at them and feel confident that the system will work and work properly and perform for us what we expect," Knaup said.

For updates, check back at semissourian.com or read Thursday's Southeast Missourian.

Approximate location of land for sale

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