There was plenty of initial interest in the five empty lots near downtown Parsons, but the only submitted proposal was rescinded.
The city commission agreed to buy foreclosed homes at 1620-1628 Belmont Ave. and 310 S. 17th St. from Golden Plains Credit Union for $10,000 in June.
The homes, long considered an eyesore by most in the community, had been condemned. The city later hired JRB Industries Inc. to demolish the structures for $37,500, bringing the city’s total investment on the properties to $47,500.
City officials had hoped to take multiple proposals for the empty lots so that they could choose which would be most beneficial to the city, but only one was submitted. Bids were due by the end of September.
Jim Zaleski, economic development director, said a local couple had turned in a proposal to build a single-family home on the five lots, but they changed their minds and notified the city just a couple of days after the deadline. Zaleski said he would have been happy to take the proposal to the city commission as a new house ultimately would add to the city’s tax base as well as help beautify the area.
Five people had expressed interest in the land and asked to be notified when it was ready for development. Zaleski said in September that he had heard plans for building offices, a single-family house, a duplex and multiple-family housing, but when it came time to submit proposals, most of those people didn’t come forward.
Although Zaleski said the property looks by far better empty than it did with the dilapidated homes, city officials would like for the property to be developed instead of it being just more lots to be mowed by city workers.
“We’re not predetermined to anything. We’ll be open to any ideas that people might have,” Zaleski said.
He said the city possibly would offer incentives for development of the property.
“We’ll work with them to put something in there,” Zaleski said.
After the city bought the property, there was some excitement about the possibilities because it is right across the street from the Parsons Public Library and is close to other amenities such as the Parsons Municipal Auditorium, Forest Park and many downtown businesses.
“We want to keep that excitement going,” Zaleski said.