By Jim Misunas
LARNED — Larned City Manager Lane Massey will don his negotiating hat when he plans to meet with officials from a Moundridge company that has offered to lease-purchase the city-owned National Guard Armory.
Massey will iron out details with Heartland Industries partners Mark Vogts and Brian Wedel, whose company is affiliated with the Netafim irrigation company.
Heartland Industries, a drip-irrigation company, has proposed a six-month lead-in lease agreement to locate a branch in Larned. The company would hire a branch manager and several local employees if an agreement is reached.
“I don’t see any issues, but it’s also in the preliminary stages, so it’s hard to anticipate how everything will fall together,” he said.
City attorney Jerry Larson will be involved in drafting the contract proposal, which will put everything in writing for both parties. Massey said once the parties agree to general terms, it would likely take several weeks or longer for everyone to fine tune the details.
The initial proposal by Heartland Industries would be a lease agreement that would partner with the city of Larned. There’s also the possibility the company would buy the building outright, which would make for a cleaner process.
“Basically, at this point, everything is on the table,” Massey said. “There may be requests on both sides and that’s what we work out. Neither party is asking for anything unusual. The city council is leaning towards selling the property. They would rather see it a traditional real estate transaction. But we’ll see what the company is willing to do. We will discuss the details of the purchase agreement.”
Massey has experience negotiating property acquisitions and easements for right-of-way for Arkansas City.
The process will likely be reviewed at the next regular city council meeting Sept. 6. A special meeting may be rescheduled later in August for issues regarding an electrical interconnect.
The Larned Assembly of God has offered a nine-acre tract of land valued at $104,000 east of Larned in addition to $146,000 for the Armory. Pastor Ryan Webster currently operates a church at 922 Broadway. The church has previously offered a $10,000 earnest payment to be used as a deposit towards the purchase.
The city acquired the National Guard Armory in 2010. The Armory has been the site of antique shows, pancake feeds and dances.