The reserve bid on a downtown city-owned building apparently was too high for the three parties interested in buying it.

The city commission agreed to take bids on the former Curious Minds Discovery Zone building at 1810 Main St. with a reserve of $45,000. Only one couple submitted a bid by Monday’s deadline, Jim Zaleski, economic development director, told city commissioners during a Thursday work session.

Davis & Sterling Group LLC, owned by Brad and Jessica Rush, bid $41,200 for the building. Because it didn’t meet the reserve, the bid was rejected.

The city had leased the two-story building to Curious Minds Discovery Zone for several years, but the children’s museum vacated the building in May to relocate to a facility it bought at 1610 S. 21st St.

The city bought the 1810 Main property and an adjacent building at 1806 Main from Bonnie Acklin for a total of $108,000. The 1806 Main building is leased to Steve’s Lockout/Smelly Good Stuff.

The other people interested in the 1810 Main property were City Commissioner Verlyn Bolinger and Fire Chief Kenny Ward. Bolinger wanted to relocate his Farm Bureau Financial Services office to the building, leaving behind years of leasing for ownership of his own office building while renting out the upstairs. Ward was interested in buying the building so he can live in the apartment while renting the downstairs space to a retailer. The Rushes planned to expand on the three buildings they already own downtown and rent both the apartment and the commercial space.

On Thursday, the commissioners agreed they should take sealed bids again, this time with no reserve bid as Zaleski had recommended originally. The commission feared without a reserve bid, the city would lose out on potential revenue from the sale of the building. The goal, though, remains having someone take over the building and keeping it maintained, hopefully with a retail business located on the ground floor, or at least a business of some type if not retail.

The city has not had the building privately appraised, but Labette County has set its appraisal at $78,010. Zaleski said on Thursday that given today’s commercial environment, a price in the high $30,000 range would be reasonable.

The city commission didn’t set a deadline on the second round of sealed bids on Thursday.

Zaleski said the commission could reject all of the bids if they are too low. The city then could continue to own and maintain the building until finding a suitable buyer who would use it in a way that is desirable for the community. The commissioners have said beside considering the purchase price, they will consider the proposed use of the building when deciding the buyer.


Tennis courts

In another matter Thursday, the commission briefly discussed the resurfacing of Dodds Courts in Forest Park.

A few months ago, the commissioners had thought the tennis courts could wait another year to be resurfaced, but they may have changed their minds.

City Manager Debbie Lamb was looking for guidance on whether the city should move forward with the resurfacing this year. The cost estimate in June was $37,700. The courts should be resurfaced every five years, and it’s been about six years since they received a new surface. Lamb said an alternative surface has been suggested, but it would cost $30,000 before installation. She plans to check with Parsons USD 503 to see how much the surfacing cost at Parsons High School, which used it for the school’s tennis courts.

Bolinger said he inspected the courts recently and found several cracks on the playing surface. The courts are not in as good of shape as he originally thought.

Parsons High School has hosted a home girls tennis meet on the courts and will host the league tournament later this year. The school also expects to host the regional tournament, although that hasn’t been decided yet. Tennis coach Tyler Beardmore wants the courts to be resurfaced before those next two tournaments.

Commissioner Kevin Cruse said he still thought the courts could go another year without new surfacing. He said it would be good to resurface the courts before the next tournaments, but if that’s not possible because of contractor scheduling, the city might as well wait until 2021. Boys tennis will start in March.

Lamb said Commissioner Tom Shaw, who was not at Thursday’s work session, told her the city should resurface the courts this year.

Resurfacing of the courts is usually funded by revenue from a half percent sales tax that is partly devoted to parks and recreation. The fund has $286,000, with $172,000 still to be paid for work on the public swimming pool.


Exercise equipment

Arianna Bennett, Parsons Recreation Commission administrator, updated the commission about an expansion of outdoor exercise equipment along the Frisco Trail.

The recreation commission received a grant from the Parsons Area Community Foundation to add four more pieces of equipment, which will be installed in the same part of the trail but on the opposite side. The existing exercise equipment is placed along the trail from Heacock Avenue to Broadway Avenue near the Parsons Municipal Swimming Pool and the Arvon Phillips Community Center.

“We’re excited and we’re looking to move forward with that and get those installed pretty quickly,” Bennett said.


Fire-damaged house

The commission held a public hearing on Thursday for a fire-damaged house at 2211 Washington Ave. No one from the public attended the hearing.

The hearing was a necessary step in condemning the house. The commission will consider a condemnation resolution during its regular meeting on Tuesday evening.

Lamb said the owners of the house have no plans to repair it. Most of the damage was contained to the back of the house, with some smoke damage throughout the house. Lamb said it could be feasible for someone to repair the home. She said condemning it won’t necessarily lead to its demolition.

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