A new wrinkle in the library-pool site sagaPublished by on
WORTHINGTON – The Nobles County Commissioners on Tuesday voted to pursue the former pool site as their first choice for a location for a potential new library. During the meeting, Chairman Bob Demuth Jr. stated that knowing what he did of the E.O. Olson Trust, which deeded the land to the city in 1945, the county might face obstacles in attaining the property from the city. During a follow-up interview this morning, Demuth reiterated, stating there was language in the trust that if the city was to sell the property to someone else, certain restrictions exist. During some research into the land and trust, he said, wrinkles showed up.
But it may not be just the trust articles that are the problem. According to city Administrator Craig Clark, the city charter could be more problematic. There is legal work to be done, he said, as well as more investigation.
According to the charter, “No ordinance or resolution authorizing the lease or sale of any public utility or duly dedicated park owned by the city shall be valid until the same shall have been submitted to the electors of the city and approved by a majority of those voting thereon.” In other words, the city can’t just hand the land over to the county. According to Clark, the city may have to get permission from the taxpayers through a public vote for the city to release the land.
A wrinkle, indeed.
On the bright side, Clark said indications from the city were that they would be willing to use a “no cost alternative” as a partnership in the library process, meaning at this point, the plan is to gift, give or hand the property over to the county, as long as they can find a legal way to do so. Additionally, the city would be willing to do the same with the old Campbell Soup property, if the county chose instead to pursue that land as a library site.
As far as the E.O. Olson Trust issues, Clark said stipulations could possibly be overcome simply by having heirs to the trust give legal approval for the pool site to be used as a public library – something they have already done less formally.