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Village Buys and Sells Properties for a Net Gain

village sale
The properties on Spruce Street that were sold by the village are in the background of this picture taken as the community pavilion was being built.

By Sue Moore

The sale of two important village properties was announced by Village Manager Ken Schippers at the April village council meeting.

Printing Services, headed by Steve Huntington, has agreed to purchase the former Long Branch restaurant and accompanying buildings on Spruce Street for $130,000. The property has been abandoned since 2012. When the taxes were not paid over three years, it reverted to the Kalamazoo County treasurer who turned it over to the Land Bank for remediation of suspected contamination on the property.

The property, although located in Brady Township, has a history of being brought into the village of Vicksburg by the previous owner, Gary Gray under a 425 agreement with the township. It then reverted back to the township in 2015 when the 425 agreement was negated. The township then agreed to let the village take possession. Mary Balkema, Kalamazoo County treasurer, agreed to sell it to the village for back taxes of over $50,000.

The two parties are close to signing the legal documents for Printing Services to take possession and fix up the buildings to use for storage of their printing materials on the site, according to Huntington.

Community Center May be Sold to Paper City Development

Schippers had also put the community center at 101 S. Main Street in Vicksburg up for sale with one bid received of $150,000 from Paper City Development. The paperwork is being drawn up with a final sales date set for a May signing. It includes $50,000 to be paid within the next four months, followed by payments of $10,000 a year for ten years on a land contract, Schippers told the council.

The buyer has committed to keeping the building open and available to community use for three years minimum, while Paper City utilizes a portion of the building for offices. The village staff will continue booking events with very few changes envisioned. The buyer in the meantime will take care of the maintenance on the building.

Village Buys the Car Wash Property

The car wash at 295 N. Richardson Street in Vicksburg has been purchased by the village to serve as the trailhead for the extension of the trail that currently begins just past Bobby’s Restaurant on Richardson Street. The building will be leveled and after some contamination has been mitigated the property will reconstructed to be the entry way to the trail. Plans are to continue the trail from Richardson, running parallel to the railroad tracks to N. Main Street. It is projected to have parking for 20 vehicles. The property was acquired for $41,000 with the cost of remediation split with the owner at $9,000 apiece.

Trail Property Acquired off of TU Avenue

Four parcels further north on Sprinkle Road have also been purchased by the village to facilitate the building of the proposed trail. It will extend north to connect up with Portage city limits. Since the village will not be using the entire acreage, Schippers said they have entered into a lease on 10 acres for John Byholt to farm the property which is situated in both Schoolcraft and Brady Townships. Byholt has a two-year agreement with the village where he will pay the taxes and has the right of first refusal if the village decides to sell the portion it doesn’t need for the trail.

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