By a 6 to 1 vote, Dover City Council on the night of Aug. 12 approved a measure that could increase the prospects for a manufacturing company to move into the Garrison Oak Technical Park, east of Dover.
Discussion on the subject took up the greater part of the approximately 90-minute session. Councilman Sean Lynn was unable to attend the meeting; Councilman David L. Anderson is deployed on military assignment with the Delaware National Guard.
City Manager Scott Koenig came to council with a request from the company to lower the price for a 10.9-acre lot from $35,000 an acre to $1,000 an acre.
Council members in July had granted Koenig the authority to negotiate the deal after he told them the company was balking at the original price tag. Council had stipulated, however, the final price for the land would be approved by its members.
Koenig had told council's Legislative, Finance and Administration Committee on July 22 the land had been transferred to the city from the state of Delaware free of charge. Because the city would not realize an immediate profit from the sale, he estimated it would take approximately 20 years to recoup the value of the parcel, which he estimated to be approximately $326,000.
Koenig initially told council he could not reveal the name of the company or what it would manufacture, but said it could bring more than 100 construction jobs to the area and that the company would provide approximately 15 permanent positions in the area, eventually increasing that number to 23. Representatives from the company had indicated the price of the land would be a key consideration in their decision, he said.
The value of the new facility is estimated at between $8 and $10 million.
In approving the sale price, council added two caveats: first, it rejected a recommendation the company be given rent-free office space in the Dover Public Library during the construction phase and instead instructed Koenig to find another location on city property.
Secondly, council added a clause requiring the company to either return the property and all improvements to the city or to reimburse the city at $30,000 per acre, minus the amount already paid, should the company decide to move its business elsewhere.
Council member Adam Perza cast the lone vote against the proposal. The entire proposal now must be reviewed by the company's board of directors.
In other actions, council unanimously agreed to declare five buildings belonging to the Downtown Dover Development Corporation as dangerous properties. The buildings are at 222 and 238 Railroad Avenue.
In a later action, council awarded a $58,000 contract to Delaware Mulch and Stone to accomplish demolition of the buildings.
Council members also set Wednesday, Aug. 28 for a hearing with its Safety, Advisory and Transportation Committee to get public response to a plan to limit left turns from Loockerman Street onto Governors Avenue.
Page 2 of 2 - The meeting will take place at 5 p.m. in the City Hall conference room.