VALE – Jamieson Produce Inc will be able to expand on a seven-acre parcel along Hope Street following a decision by the Vale City Council Feb. 11.

In a unanimous vote, the council agreed to sell the city-owned parcel to the local onion packing firm for $100,101.

“We plan to have a packing shed (there) and increase our business,” said Jeff Stubbs, Jamieson Produce general manager.

The land – between Hope Street and Barkley Drive in north Vale – carries an assessed value of $46,800 and a market value of $207,000 and is zoned light industrial.

The city received only one other offer – from Bay City developer Gary Oldenkamp, for $120,000.

Katy Lamb, Vale city manager, said the property was declared surplus last summer. At about the same time, she said, Jamieson Produce approached the city about buying it.

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“It is not like we have people saying they will give us even close to market value for it. We don’t want it. We were not going to use it and it is just sitting there fenced in,” said Lamb.

Lamb said she wasn’t sure how the city acquired the property.

“I just know we’ve had it forever,” said Lamb.

Oldenkamp said he owns an eight-acre lot zoned residential next to the property purchased by Jamieson Produce. Oldenkamp made his offer on the property just before the Feb. 11 council meeting.

Oldenkamp said he was surprised by the council decision.

“I made an offer $20,000 more than what they got from Jamieson. I don’t understand their thinking,” said Oldenkamp. “I’d like to know their reasoning for why they threw away $120,000.”

City councilor Christine Phillips said the council considered Oldenkamp’s offer carefully but in the end felt the Jamieson Produce bid made more sense.

“They (Jamieson Produce Inc) are already providing for this community, providing jobs for the families in this community. It is zoned industrial so when you look at it and what types of things that could be put on that property, having Jamieson was better than the other alternatives,” said Phillips.

Councilor Monte Bixby said he was in favor of Jamieson Produce because “their plans for that property creates more jobs.”

Phillips said Oldenkamp didn’t deliver his offer “until late in the game.”

“It was more but you just can’t look at the dollars. You have to look at the overall picture. Sometimes there is more to it than money. We had a sure thing with Jamieson and a great offer from a really good community partner,” said Phillips.

Lamb said the city advertised the land for sale Jan. 8 and held a public meeting on the issue Jan. 14.

“The council decided that it was in their best interest to give it to an established industry,” said Lamb.

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