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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • County to sell 4-H building

  • Leavenworth County commissioners are looking to sell the 4-H building in Lansing.
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  • Leavenworth County commissioners are looking to sell the 4-H building in Lansing.
    They voted this past week to begin the process of disposing the property.
    County officials have indicated the building, located at 101 4-H Road, has extensive maintenance needs. County Administrator Pat Hurley said it's estimated that needed repairs to the property will cost $100,000 or more.
    "The property has a lot of value," he said Thursday. "The building is not in good shape."
    The building is used for 4-H activities and and rented for private events, but it is owned by the county government.
    The building is located on an 8.37-acre parcel of land, all of which is owned by the county. The County Appraiser's Office has appraised the total value of the land and building to be $414,280.
    An independent appraiser also has looked at the property, but the County Commission has not released the amount of this appraisal.
    County Counselor David Van Parys told commissioners Thursday that they can dispose of the property after making a finding that it's no longer needed for conducting county business.
    He said commissioners have options regarding how it can be sold including the use of sealed bids or an auction. He said the county can set a reserve price. Commissioners also can reject any and all bids.
    "You're given latitude," Van Parys said.
    Brenda Taxeras agreed that the building has a number of issues.
    She is the 4-H youth development agent for the K-State Research and Extension office in Leavenworth County.
    "Everything in there is old," she told commissioners.
    But Taxeras said the building is a meeting place for several 4-H clubs and activities.
    She said she probably uses the building three or four times per month. But the building also is rented for private events, such as baby showers and family reunions, at a rate of $50 per day. She said the revenue from the rental of the building is turned over to the county.
    Taxeras said a $100 deposit is required from a person who rents the building.
    "They're pretty good about cleaning up after themselves," she said.
    She said the building already is booked for private events for about every Friday, Saturday and Sunday in November and December.
    Commissioner Dennis Bixby suggested that if all of the weekends are booked and the county is going into the hole with the building, the rental fee should be raised.
    Bixby said he doubts the money from the rentals covers the utilities, which are paid by the county.
    Taxeras said the rental fee was increased from $35 per day to $50 this past summer.
    Page 2 of 2 - Commission Chairman Bob Holland said if the fee was raised to a level that covered expenses associated with the building, no one probably will want to rent it.
    Bixby said he believes the building should go away. He said he knows this may be a hardship for 4-H programs but there are other spaces available.
    Hurley said there are some potential liability issues for the county government related to the use of the building.
    "It is our building," he said.
    Van Parys asked Taxeras if there is an age restriction regarding who is allowed to rent the property.
    Taxeras said there are rules that prohibit alcohol and smoking, and youth are supposed to be supervised. But she said there is no one policing the events to make sure the rules are followed.
    Bixby later said he was concerned that alcohol may be used at the building. He said alcohol is sold at a neighboring business.
    "It's a one-minute walk," he said.
    Bixby said he would like to think this is not happening.
    Bixby made a motion to to close the 4-H building after events already scheduled there are canceled or carried out. His motion also called for the start of the process to dispose of the property.
    Van Parys also asked that a certificate of liability insurance for $1 million be required from people renting the building.
    The motion passed unanimously.

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