February 27, 2020
Local resident and businessman Neil Gray spoke to the Moorcroft Council Monday night about the town-owned property immediately north of Town Hall. He has offered to buy said asset with the intent to further the rebuilding of downtown.
“I’m really concerned about downtown Moorcroft just drying up and blowing away. If we can find some way to entice somebody to do something with that land, I’d be interested in pushing that along as much as possible,” he said.
“I’m interested,” said Gray, “but I don’t have any money. I want to know what you’ve been talking about to get some common ground here.”
The governing body explained that the two lots as a whole are offered for $500 and the buyer assumes responsibility for the razing the existing structures within a year of receipt or title reverts to the town with no refund to the buyer.
Gray had previously examined the buildings for possible salvage and noted, “I would say that the labor it would take to get the good out of it is about as much as it’s worth.”
As for the cost of disposing of the base materials, Gray asked for consideration at the landfill. The insulation, carpet and other unburnable and unrecyclable materials will have to be buried and, while there were no definite arrangements made regarding this aspect, Councilman Dale Petersen voiced his disagreement with giving the space at the landfill for free, but was more comfortable with a minimal cost.
Gray asked for confirmation from the council, based on what they know about the property, whether there may be any pollution in the ground beneath the structures like a dry-cleaning business or a filling station.
“If I get that all leveled out and get a buyer, the first thing they are going to want is a soil test to make sure he isn’t assuming some liability for a contaminant,” he said.
The body considered the many businesses that had occupied the space over the last century and could think of none that would potentially have contaminated the underlying soil. With that said, though, Councilman Owen Mathews told Gray that the town has never had the ground tested.
Restrictions to the use of the property were then discussed and there is only one, Mayor Dick Claar assured Gray: “It has to be commercial.” The strict commercial zoning of downtown is part of the laws of incorporation of Moorcroft, according to Mathews.
Gray assured the body of his intent, “My goal [would be to] get it to the point where it’s just a flat piece of ground all cleaned up. At that point, I would decide on selling it to a developer.”
Claar advocated Gray’s plan, “That’s our goal, anyway – clean it up.”
With these assurances, Gray voiced his wish to buy the property. However, Clerk/Treasurer Cheryl Schneider informed him, according to an earlier conversation with Town Attorney Jim Peck, that statute demands that the property be advertised for bid when interest is shown.
The request for bids on this property can be found in this week’s Moorcroft Leader.