BLUE EARTH - Blue Earth City Council took back some of the land it swapped with the Faribault County Fair Board earlier this month.
On Dec. 3, the council voted to give the fair board nearly 6 acres, including the grandstand area and go-kart track at the fairgrounds, in exchange for 1.8 acres around the Green Giant statute.
Monday night, the council voted 6-1 to pass an ordinance that greatly reduces the amount of land the city will give the fair board, in the hopes it can be turned into a baseball diamond.
"Property transfer has to be done by ordinance," explained Kathy Bailey, city administrator. "Even though they voted by motion at a previous council meeting, in order to follow through with the land transaction, it has to come back to the council in a land ordinance."
With the ordinance up for vote Monday, Councilman Rick Scholtes offered an amendment to change the 5.72-acre block of land that looked like a water pitcher into a section that looks more like a saucepan. The amendment does not touch the "handle" to the southwest, which includes the grandstand and another building, but it does affect a 360-by-600-foot section to the east. A portion of it will be reserved for a ball diamond. Portable fencing will allow the fair board to continue to use the outfield for parking during the fair in the summer.
"This is a workable situation," Scholtes said.
"This is the solution we always wanted," said Councilman Russ Erichsrud.
"Looks like a win/win to me," said Councilman Glenn Gaylord.
"This is the only way we can keep a piece for ourselves," Scholtes said. "If the baseball group gets funds, they can build."
Councilman John Gartzke voted no on the amendment while the others voted yes to pass it 6-1.
Gartzke also voted no on the ordinance itself while the others voted yes to pass it 6-1.
Bailey did not know how many acres the fair board was receiving, saying a proper legal description must be written up for the ordinance. When it is, the ordinance will be signed and go into effect 30 days after publication.
In other business, the council approved:
o Three agreements with Tim and Barb Steier regarding the airport, including an airport managers agreement and fixed base operators agreement, both of which were renewed; and a private hanger lease, which will be passed on approval of the hanger location.
"The Steiers are doing a great job and represent the city of Blue Earth very well," said Councilman Allen Aukes.
o Appointed Chad Phillips to the Economic Development Board. He is manager of Seneca Foods in Blue Earth.
o Set a public hearing on the capital improvement plan and bonds for 5:05 p.m. Jan. 22 at City Hall.