by Richard Uhlhorn
Representatives from the Lookout and Community Center were on the City Council Workshop agenda Tuesday, June 7, to offer a purchase of the top two acres of the City’s nine acres for $1 million and then have the City donate that money to the Community Center to help continue its build out.
The City had purchased the property for $440,000 from the Parlette family several years ago.
Adam Rynd, Coldwell Banker told the Council that the Lookout owners were motivated to offer the $1 million as a bridge gap for funding the continued construction of the Center.
“It’s a creative solution and starting point of how the City of Chelan can financially support the Chelan Community Center,” said Rynd. “This is far over the market value,” he added.
Councilman Peter Jamptgaard told Rynd, “I would like to see people access that property.” He stated that there may be other creative solutions other than the current proposal.
Rynd replied that the Lookout is certainly willing to look at options.
Councilwoman Erin McCardle did some research in the Lookout’s lot sales and stated that they would realize an estimated $4 million of each of the two acres. “Is our council willing to sell these two acres? We need to have a separate conversation on how to support the community center.”
McCardle went on to say, “As a government entity, does it fit. We have to check with our lawyer.” She also asked if anybody could access the community center, adding that she feels uncomfortable selling real estate and then gifting the money to the center.
Councilman John Olson added that only one percent of Lake Chelan’s (Wapato Basin) shoreline is open to the public, and that the population of Manson is approaching the population of Chelan. “They got the same problems.” Mayor Goedde remarked that the Spader Bay property should be kept in one piece.
Councilman Tim Hollingsworth stated that one of the challenges for Chelan is accessibility and unrestricted free access could be a legitimate tradeoff. “It would allow people to get to the shoreline.” But he added that there are a lot of legal hurdles to overcome.
McCardle said the first step is to come up with an operating plan and that the City needs to have a conversation. Councilman Servando Robledo said that everyone wants Spader Bay open to the public.
It was also stated that the Lookout has no plans to develop that two acres.
Seven Acres Foundation President Ben Williams remarked that a municipal park district might be the answer to funding with the City operating it. “There are a lot of creative options out there,” said Williams. He added that there are a lot of creative ways to satisfy the council requirements. McCardle stated that it was harder for a public entity to be creative.
McCardle asked to take the property sale off the board but said there was support across the board for the Community Center. “We need to spend time with our legal counsel to find out how far we can go,” said McCardle. “We haven’t had to deal with something like this before.” Hollingsworth stated that the Council needs to get a legal framework.