Appraisers set $33,400 value for parking land

Published 12:00 am Thursday, April 3, 2003

Appraisers appointed by a Mower County court have arrived at a fair compensation figure for the county’s condemnation of private property next to the new judicial center.

The price for the 8,200-square foot parcel is $33,400, according to the report submitted to the court last week.

The county condemned the land east of the former Western Grocer Building site, wanting to use it as a parking lot for the new courthouse.

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Originally, the property was valued at at $27,300 by the county assessor, while landowner George Dress contended a $100,000 value based on a sales contract to a third party Dress made during the negotiations with the county.

Besides the compensation to Dress, the county needs to pay $32,300 Dress owes to the City of Albert Lea for unpaid taxes.

Judge Fred Wellman has already agreed to allow the county to have the land for the judicial center construction. He will issue a final order that determines the compensation based on the appraisers’ report.

Meanwhile, the judicial center project stepped into a new phase Wednesday by enclosing about half of the parking lot behind the old courthouse. The space will be used to pool construction equipment and materials.

The new judicial center is expected to open in July of 2004. The project will continue at the old courthouse and 1954 building throughout 2004.