(Atlantic) The Atlantic City Council tabled the sale of 7.6 acres of land located northwest of the intersection of Olive Street and Commerce Street at Wednesday night’s meeting. The 7.6-acre parcel of land was originally part of several city owned parcels of land rented to John McCurdy two weeks ago for the high bid of $300.00 per acre. However, the council pulled that piece out during the same meeting after Dave Chase, representing the Nishna Valley Trails informed the Council that he had been in discussions with Ted Wickman about getting a trail easement that would connect the Schildberg Rock Quarry east to Olive Street. He pointed out that Mr. Wickman had been farming this 7.6-acre parcel since he gave it to the City in 1986, without a lease or rent being charged. The land was donated to entice De Long’s Sporting Goods to locate in Atlantic. Chase told the council that Mr. Wickman did not submit a bid for the lease of this property, but he would be interested in buying or leasing it. Mr. Chase pointed out that Mr. Wickman willingness to provide a trail easement across his property may be contingent on his being allowed to continue to farm both of these city parcels.
A public hearing was held on the issue last night and Mayor Jones read a letter to the council written by John McCurdy. The following is part of that letter…
Quote: John McCurdy
“It is my strong opinion that my original offer to rent the ground for $300.00 per acre should be honored. I thinks there is an issue of fairness to be considered and as a young beginning farmer; it is very difficult for me to get access to land. It is difficult enough to miss property because someone has family or a friend connected to it. However, to be the high bidder on a publicly sealed bid and then having it taken away is hard to take. I don’t have an axe to grind with Mr. Wickman. If I were him I would want the existing arrangements in effect as well. Even if he had entered a lower bid and the city had decided to award it to him on the grounds that there was some compelling public good for that I could take that more easily than the current situation where he did not place a bid.”
To add to the confusion, Keith Steffens purchased the Delong property that adjoins the land in question, and wonders who owns the grass strip east of his building.
“The property I am concerned about, I believe is city owned and not part of the 7.6-acre parcel. I am refering to the parking and grass area that is not being farmed that adjoins that,” stated Steffens. “When I purchased the Delong property it was brought to my attention that the property was to go to Delong’s if they met certain requirements on employment and so forth, but apparently that never happened.
“If I need to purchase the farmland to obtain that property, I would certainly do that,” stated Steffens.
City Attorney Dave Wiederstein did say that the area in question was part of the 7.6 acres. The Council tabled the issue until December 2, so they could discuss it further and discover the facts,
November 3, 2011