Brainerd will own 61 acres of land near Brainerd Regional Human Services Center, at Highways 18 and 25.
Based on a recommendation from the Brainerd Planning Commission, which met earlier, the Brainerd City Council Monday approved the purchase of the land from the state, and referred the issue to the Brainerd Economic Development Authority and the planning commission for how the property should be used.
The land will cost $680,800. Council Member Gary Scheeler compared the cost of the land to receiving state aid and called the state's offer of the land "a gift."
The land, which has been used for community gardens and is the site of the BMX track, has been deemed excess property by the state and could be used for any number of development projects, but council member Debbie Olander spoke out in favor of keeping the track located on the site.
Brainerd Mayor James Wallin said one of the reasons the city should buy the property would be so that the BMX track could remain there, an unknown if a private developer bought the land.
The city could sell the land at any price it wanted, but the state will not prepare partial releases on the property. The piece of property is already served by water and sewer.
Council member Mark O'Day, who expressed concern about buying the land at the last city council meeting, said Monday he wasn't against the purchase, but he wanted to be sure the city wasn't getting into land speculation.
That was also a concern of Planning Commission member Todd Thompson.
"If the city buys that land, we have to be the real estate agent for it and I don't think that's what is in the city's best interest," said Thompson.
The terms would include a five-year contract for deed at 6 percent interest, with a 10 percent down payment. The city could delay making payments for two years.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.