If the city of Hannibal has interest in the now empty lot just east of city hall, it wasn’t saying Wednesday, the morning after the City Council met in closed session to presumably discuss the property.
Contacted Wednesday morning, City Manager Jeff LaGarce responded via e-mail that he is “still not able to reply” to inquiries, explaining that the matter is considered “confidential.”
The matter was slated to go behind closed doors after appearing as an agenda item during open session at the City Council’s Aug. 6 meeting. However, because real estate is an issue that can be discussed behind closed doors without violating the Sunshine Law, the Council agreed that it would be a topic best discussed without the public and media present.
While the Council agenda did not specify Tuesday night that the property next to city hall would be the topic of discussion, real estate was cited as one of the reasons for the closed session.
The opportunity to acquire the lot, where the former Maryland Hotel stood up until earlier this summer, was presented the city by the parcel’s current owner, Bricker Excavating/Demolition, which bought 314-16-18 Broadway last November.
In a July 24 letter to the city, Ron Bricker, project coordinator for Bricker Excavating/Demolition, suggested city hall might want the lot to develop into a parking lot to eliminate congestion and parking problems at city hall.
LaGarce acknowledged that while “parking is a premium, so are funds.”
Bricker’s asking price for the property is $56,000.
The city is not the only party that has been approached about the site. In late July, Bricker told the Courier-Post he’d contacted “about three people” and made sale proposals to them.
Bricker could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.
This is not the first time the city has had a chance to acquire the site. In 2011, the building’s previous owners, Jim and Sheryl Love of California, offered to give the site to the city. The City Council, however, said “thanks but no thanks.” LaGarce estimated that it would cost between $57,000 and $60,000 to tear the building down and another $15,000 to transform the lot into a parking lot.