By Jim Misunas
LARNED — Negotiations to sell the city-owned National Guard Armory are continuing between Larned city manager Lane Massey and co-owners of an agricultural firm.
Massey and the Larned city council continued their discussion of a pending contract Monday between the city and Heartland Irrigation. Heartland Industries, a drip irrigation company based in Moundridge, has an offer to lease-purchase the armory, which had been listed for sale by the council with an asking price of $250,000.
Co-owners Mark Vogts and Brian Wedel, partners in the company, have appeared with Jan Windsheffel, the Salina district sales manager for the Netafim irrigation company and Heartland’s chief supplier, based in Fresno, Calif.
Massey said one item under discussion is the term for “first right of refusal,” if the new owner wants to sell the property within a certain time frame. Massey said the city would like the first right of refusal included in the contract.
‘The Armory is a good asset to the community and if we wanted to repurchase it, we would want to protect the interest of the city,” Massey said. “The city would have a vested interest to see that it is a viable asset for the community. I believe it should be a necessary requirement.”
Massey believes the contract between the parties will be worked out in the next few weeks.
“There is no indication it won’t work out and we’re working out final details with Heartland,” Massey said. “It isn’t unusual that there are stipulations the city wants and things the buyer wants put into a contract.”
Massey said the sale of the Armory is one of several high-profile projects the city is working on. Other projects are an electrical interconnect, street and water department work and work at the Larned/Pawnee County Airport.
Larned Mayor Bob Pivonka is optimistic the city will finalize a contract.
“There were a couple of items the council looked at, but I’m still positive,” he said. “There’s just a few minor things.”
Larned’s National Guard Armory was turned over to the city of Larned in 2010. The armory was one of 18 that the National Guard closed because of the state’s budget crisis. The Larned Armory has held antique shows, pancake feeds and dances.
The Larned Assembly of God also made an offer on the property. The church offered a nine-acre tract of land valued at $104,000 east of Larned in addition to $146,000.