By ANDREA POTEET
Sunday Times Newspapers
WYANDOTE — To unload dozens of city-owned lots, council members are considering some unorthodox ideas.
A marketing proposal was presented Monday with several possible strategies for selling the 69 city-owned vacant lots to potential home builders. City Council members agreed to offer the properties for no money down on a lien forgiven after 10 years of residency at the property.
Mayor Joseph Peterson, City Engineer Mark Kowalewski and Engineering Office Supervisor Kelly Roberts started the marketing plan about a month ago after council members requested something be done to move the properties, which the city bought to demolish blighted buildings in an effort to get them back on the tax rolls.
The original plan included selling the 50- to 60-foot lots for $10,000 each. Some council members discussed keeping that rate to see how the lots sell, while others supported the forgivable lien.
Peterson said the forgivable lien would help to bring more people into the city, which lost more than 2,100 people since 2000, according to the latest U.S. Census.
“It puts kids back in our school system,” Peterson said. “It puts people back in our city. We lost 2,000 people in 10 years. We need to go out of the box. This is a very good program to go out of the box with.”
If the council starts with the $10,000 rates then offers new incentives or discounted rates later on, they could reduce the amount owed to the city by those who bought lots before the price cuts, Roberts said.
To advertise the properties, Roberts discussed posting available lots on the city’s Website and Facebook page and using the local cable station, a city-owned billboard on Eureka and 15th, and sending notices of available lots to developers and builders. Hiring a real estate agent also was discussed.
Council also approved $500 to advertise on a flat-board truck during Cruisin’-Downriver in June.
Councilwoman Sherri Sutherby Fricke proposed hosting a home building show at Yack Arena to market the properties, as well as the city’s geothermal energy efforts and inviting local companies, like BASF Corp. to market their home improvement products there.
“Let’s get other people to work for us,” Fricke said.
Another public hearing on the issue is planned but has not yet been scheduled.