Originally Posted Online: Nov. 08, 2012, 10:39 pm
Last Updated: Nov. 09, 2012, 12:07 am
Welcome Center sale gets go-ahead
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By Sarah Hayden firstname.lastname@example.org
The sale of the Iowa Welcome Center in LeClaire is moving forward after two public hearings approved the purchase agreement this week.
Markman Peat, a Davenport-based sand and soil company, wants to use the building as its new corporate headquarters. Closing is tentatively scheduled by Nov. 21
The Mississippi Valley Welcome Board had sought $625,000 for the building and its eight-acre lot. Markman Peat Corp has submitted an offer of $550,000, with a request for tax abatements of 80 percent the first five years, reducing to 20 percent by the ninth year.
LeClaire Mayor Bob Scannell said the city council on Monday night approved the sale under those terms by a 3-1 vote, with the lone dissenter, Terri Applegate, not citing a reason for the no vote.
"I think it's a win-win situation for the city," said Mayor Scannell. "We'll get an established company that will bring in more than jobs, and they'll have salesmen using local hotels and restaurants. They're paying a good price too."
On Thursday, the Scott County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the sale of the center to Markman Peat. There were no comments from the public or board members.
Increased use of the Internet and GPS systems led to fewer visitors for the Welcome Center, prompting its closure in December 2011. The escalating operation and maintenance costs prompted the decision to sell the facility.
"Since the convention and visitor's bureau terminated the program, we've been left with an empty building," said Tim Huey, Director of Planning and Zoning for Scott County, who also is on the Mississippi Valley Welcome Board."There have been no state funds dedicated to it."
The center was jointly owned by Scott County and LeClaire, Bettendorf and Davenport. To facilitate its sale, Bettendorf and Davenport officials transferred their ownership of the building to Scott County in November 2011.