It appears the lease issue between the City of Yuma and High Plains Recreation Association (Hiplare) remains unresolved.
The Yuma City Council held a special meeting earlier this month about a proposal from Hiplare. The council voted to pay Hiplare $160,000 for land it had leased to Smithfield for eight years. The property actually is part of the land leased to Hiplare, which has a 99-year lease with the city for $1.
The Hiplare Board of Directors never has announced it has accepted or rejected the offer. The council held an executive session at the end of its regular meeting last week to discuss “potential litigation.”
The Hiplare lease situation never was mentioned, but it is likely that is what it was about.
The executive session lasted about one hour. The council adjourned without further action after it returned to open meeting.
Otherwise, the council whipped through the rest of the agenda in about 30 minutes. Councilman Dan Baucke, who has abstained from any discussions about the Hiplare lease situation was absent last week. All the other council members were in attendance — Mayor Ron Swehla, Mayor Pro-team Marc Shay, Terri Frame, Marylu Smith-Dischner, Jerome Benish and Tim McClung.
Margo Ebersole and Alex Ebersole with the Rural Communities Resource Center briefly visited with the council about a summer meal program it is planning to hold in June and July at the City Park pavilion. The meals will be provided Tuesday through Friday, and will include breakfast and lunch. A handful of local youth will be hired to help.
Margo said it is aimed at ages 5-13, but any youth that shows up saying they want food will get food. She said they just want to make sure they can have the space at City Park. (Look for more on this program in a future edition as details are finalized.)
The council approved a water services agreement with Yuma Ethanol. Effluent from the city’s wastewater treatment plant will be utilized by Yuma Ethanol, which also pays for all the associated costs.
A public hearing for a special events permit for Marian Council #4627 Charities Fund was held. There was not any public comment. The council then unanimously approved the permit for the upcoming event.
The expenditure of $11,998 for signage associated with the downtown project was approved. The project is funded by CDOT grant, which the Yuma Chamber of Commerce spearheaded in receiving, but the city must serve as the fiscal agent.
The council also approved $15,480 for new electric meters, which is a budgeted item.
The council’s next regular meeting will be June 6.
The City of Yuma and High Plains Recreation Association (Hiplare) are locked into a negotiation concerning their lease.
The Yuma City Council held a special meeting last Thursday, May 4, to consider a proposal from Hiplare. The council met in executive session for about 15 minutes. After reconvening in public, a motion was made to refund Hiplare $160,000 for property that was first leased to Hiplare but now has been leased to Smithfield/Murphy-Brown the past several years, along with the stipulation that Hiplare not take further action.
It passed on a 6-0 vote. Mayor Ron Swehla, Mayor Pro-tem Marc Shay, and council members Tim McClung, Marylu Smith-Dischner, Terri Frame and Jerome Benish were in attendance. Councilman Dan Baucke was absent. He has abstained from participating in any discussions regarding the matter.
The $160,000 represents the amount the city has received in lease payments from Smithfield.
Hiplare Board President Aaron Prior told the Pioneer the board has no comment at this time. The board apparently had not accepted or rejected the city’s offer at press time.
The city had stated it would have some kind of a press release about the situation. City Manager Scott Moore said it would be released as soon as the city hears back from the Hiplare Board, which had not occurred by press time.
The city and Hiplare have a 99-year lease for $1 for the property on which the Indian Hills Golf Course and Yuma Gun Club are located. It goes from April 7, 1971, to April 7, 2070.
Hiplare’s leased property also included several acres of what was unused land, directly east of Detroit Ave. (Highway 59) and north of the dirt road to the gun club.
Those 4.19 acres have been leased by the city to Smithfield since July 2, 2014, which is utilized as a corn storage facility for Smithfield’s feed mill located across Detroit Ave. to the west. The initial lease was to Murphy-Brown LLC, which is what the local Smithfield operation went by in 2014.
The lease outlines $20,000 annually to the city from Smithfield. The initial lease ended July 1, 2019, at which point it was renewed on a yearly basis through 2021, but has been inactive the last two years.
The Pioneer has not learned yet when someone finally realized the 4.19 acres actually are part of Hiplare’s leased property.
However, several months ago the council held some executive sessions to discuss negotiations regarding a lease. Last month it held an executive session to discuss potential litigation. Then came last week’s special meeting to consider a proposal from Hiplare.