City Pursuing Land for Guard

Valley City officials officially announced Monday their plans to work with the Economic Development Corporation to purchase land for the National Guard. The announcement came during the regular city commission meeting.

The 70 acres of land the city is looking to purchase for the National Guard is east of John Deere and includes the home and outbuildings of Valley City resident Stan Ryan.

The property would be used to accommodate the expanding needs of the National Guard. They have outgrown the existing facility in terms of space, training needs and the technology that they utilize today.

“It is a large project to undertake, but it positions the City of Valley City for tremendous economic development and growth in the future,” City Administrator David Schelkoph said.

What makes this location ideal for the city, City Commissioner Madeline Luke mentioned, is that the location, away from the heart of downtown and close to exit 294 on Interstate 94, would eliminate a large amount of heavy equipment being driven on city roads.

The approved resolution opens the door for the city to start public negotiations with the National Guard. The public will have the opportunity to provide feedback during the process.

In other business, the commission discussed the status on housing buyouts for the city’s voluntary acquisition program. Luke brought up the fact that there were some large discrepancies between the city’s assessed value and the independent appraisal for some properties in Phase I. Sometimes there was a 100 percent variation, Luke said.

“For the most part the buyouts have gone on uncomplicated,” Luke said.
“We don’t want to run out of money. And there’s the issue of fairness and how best to use these monies,” Luke continued.

City Commissioner Matt Pedersen told the commission some options for changes in the second and third phases.

He said he’d support keeping the plan the way it is now, offering 110 percent of the city’s assessed value while giving property owners the option of having an independent appraisal done.

“Where the change would occur is we think we should learn from this Phase I experience, and we think we should implement a step in there, where, be it the commission or a subset of the Flood Protection Task Force—some group—would sit down with the property owner and have a discussion, and we’d likely meet somewhere in between the (assessment and appraisal) if there was a pretty big discrepancy there,” Pedersen said.

Also discussed was the possibility of the city developing a hybrid model between comparable sales and income producing activity, both procedures done in determining property value, for the city’s assessment process in the next two phases of the property buyouts.