By Matthew Argillander
The Lansing City Council unanimously agreed on Sept. 22 to sell the Waverly Golf Course to developer Schostak Brothers and Co. for $5.795 million.
“That is a property that we’re (Schostak Brothers and Company) very interested in pursuing for mixed use development” Schostak Vice President and Director of Development and Construction David Johns said during the public comment portion of the City Council meeting.
The offer was described in the meeting as an agreement that includes retail and residential development plans, with no current plans cemented. The 121 acres are now in a six-month due diligence period, as the Schostak Brothers are being given six months to analyze the offer they’ve made and do their homework on their potential property.
One of the main concerns of the public was the potential loss of a sledding hill included in the property. This concern resulted in Councilmember At-Large Derrick Quinney making an amendment to the agreement. The amendment was made by Quinney but officially worded by City Clerk Chris Swope.
Swope essentially gave official wording to a plan that would include a proposal to develop a new sledding hill, the plan must be developed within six months of the closing and said hill must be constructed within Lansing no later 18 months after closing.
“At the end of the day when you go by this piece of property, it’s the only piece of property that is very nice to have on the west side of Lansing,” concerned citizen Harold Leeman said during the meeting. “We have something there now, green space…people appreciate green space.”
However, the sledding hill was not the only concern, as 1st Ward Councilmember Jody Washington was concerned about the distribution of the funds that would be received.
“I have more of a concern of what will happen to the money after we sell it,” Washington said. “I believe it was conveyed that any money we got from the sale of parks would go into the Parks Department…we would get rid of these parks but we’ll make the parks that we have really good parks.”
“It was assessed at 2.8 million so we’ll put the 2.8 million into the Parks Department and we’ll put the rest of it into the rainy day fund…I would want assurances that the 2.8 million will supplement the parks budget and not supplant money that should be in there.” Washington said.
Mayor Virgil Bernero’s executive assistant Randy Hannan assured Washington that a discussion about the allocation of the funds would happen, but it isn’t necessary at this time because of the due diligence period, with the sale being unofficial until the completion of said period.
“We may have to at some point explain to our constituents to say here’s why we’ve made the decisions that we have in terms of how much we’re allocating to parks, how much we’re putting in reserves and that’s a discussion that we’re perfectly willing to have, but we don’t need to have it right now,” Hannan said.