116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Home / News / Government & Politics / Local Government
North Liberty looking to buy land for new park
City could proceed to eminent domain if deal is not made
NORTH LIBERTY — The city of North Liberty continues to work on plans for a new park in the northwest part of the city.
The Northside Community Park Project is among the initiatives identified in the city’s 2022-24 goals report. The city is negotiating with a property owner to acquire the nearly 45 acres of land, which would make this one of the city’s largest parks.
The land — owned by the Meade Family Real Estate Limited Partnership — is located above West Penn Street between N. Jones Boulevard and Highway 965.
The city has more than 20 parks, including Centennial Park, which is the city’s largest park. A map from the city shows each of the city’s parks, along with service areas and where gaps exist.
The city’s parks plan identifies the area north of West Penn Street and near N. Jones Boulevard as an appropriate area for a community park, according to the city.
The North Liberty City Council in July unanimously approved a resolution identifying the preliminary site and allowing the city attorney to initiate negotiations with the property owner. If no agreement is reached, the city could pursue eminent domain.
On Tuesday, the City Council unanimously approved a resolution establishing fair market value and just compensation for acquisition of the property. The appraisal determined $2.825 million as just compensation. The city attorney can begin negotiations for the property and could initiate acquisition by condemnation if negotiations are not successful, according to the resolution.
Gary Streit, a Cedar Rapids attorney representing the Meade family, told the council the family does not think the land is a good fit for a park. He said the land “is some of the most valuable potential commercial development property in the city” that would be turned into non-income producing property if it becomes parkland.
The family is asking the council to evaluate other sites, Streit said.
“If the family is given a reasonable opportunity to work with and collaborate with the city, we can maybe have a win-win situation,” Streit said.
City Attorney Grant Lientz recommended the council approve the resolution so the city can move forward with acquiring the property while entertaining additional offers as they become available.
The action taken by council is a routine motion, Lientz said. The city will send a copy of the appraisal to the property owner, and they have 10 days to consider it.
After those 10 days, the city can make an offer followed by five days minimum of good faith negotiation, Lientz said. If the city isn’t successful, paperwork can be filed to acquire the land by condemnation, Lientz said.
Comments: (319) 339-3155; email@example.com