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City to purchase auction house property
April 13, 2012 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
During their Monday meeting, members of the Gering City Council voted to purchase a property from businessman Byron Lane for $75,000.

The property is located at 1605 11th St., diagonally across the street from the Gering Public Library. For years, it was the location of Laneís Auction House.

The property is a potential site for the new library, which has outgrown it current space. But library staff is awaiting results of a survey asking residents where they would like the new library to be located. Another possible location has been identified just south of the downtown area.

An audience member asked what would be the use for the property. Council member Larry Gibbs said in addition to a possible library site, the property could become a city parking lot or even developed by another commercial enterprise.

Although the council approved the purchase without much discussion, a question later appeared in the Citizenís Facebook page. The poster asked whether the city would be willing to buy their house at twice its assessed valuation. The Lane property has been assessed at $39,526, although the county didnít update its commercial property valuations during the years 1999 Ė 2009.

Scotts Bluff County Assessor Amy Ramos said commercial and residential properties are two entirely separate categories. Commercial properties can sometimes sell for well over assessed valuation due to prime location and potential for economic growth or community betterment.

The city originally set April 26 as the closing date on the property, but City Attorney Jim Ellison said that could change due to issues with title insurance.

Council members agreed that once the sale closes, the Lanes would have 90 days to auction off their remaining consignments and close the business.

The city should take possession of the property sometime in August, but demolition of the building probably wonít take place until the spring of 2013.
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