A Delta businessowner who had requested the city sell a small parcel of land at the Indianola Industrial Park for his business will get an offer to lease instead.
T.J. Russell, owner of Flatland Aviation, spoke to the Indianola Board of Aldermen back in January about buying 1.9 acres out of the larger 42-acre tract of land at the Industrial Park as part of a reported $300,000 investment into building a permanent facility for his business.
Ward 4 Alderman Marvin Elder raised objections to selling the land back in January, and the board took no action, pending a recommendation from the Indianola Municipal Airport Board.
Elder did not object to Russell or his business locating on the land.
He questioned whether it was in the city’s best interest to sell the land, stating that the value could increase in the next two decades.
The city did get a recommendation from the airport board last Monday night.
Airport Manager Jerry Jones spoke to the city leaders on behalf of the airport board, who during a March 16 meeting, he said, voted in favor of selling the land.
“After a unanimous decision by the board, I’m here to say to you that the board is in full agreement for the purchase of that land,” Jones said. “It will be a benefit to the city and to the airport.”
On top of the $300,000 investment by Flatland Aviation, Jones noted that the board estimates about $1 million in gross revenue per year coming from this business.
“And that will circulate through Indianola’s commerce,” he said.
Ward 3 Alderman Ruben Woods asked Jones about other companies near the airport who were leasing and what the difference would be for those companies and Russell’s.
“They seem to be doing well, and they’re leasing,” Woods said. “What’s the difference between (those) and this one other business that wants to buy the land?”
Jones said that the other businesses were actually not on the Industrial Park land, but Woods’ overall point was that they were leasing and seemed to be happy with the arrangement.
“Why do we have to change the plan for him?” Woods asked.
Elder again spoke against selling the land.
“I’m totally against, for the betterment of the city,” Elder said. “I’m looking 20-25 years ahead. For us to sell that property, I don’t think it’s right for the city, and I don’t think it’s right for us right now, with what we’re looking at with the whole of Indianola. We’re spreading our wings.”
Elder then made a motion to offer a lease to Flatland Aviation. That was seconded by Ward 5 Alderman Sam Brock.
Ward 1 Alderman Gary Fratesi, who had reasoned earlier that selling the land would be beneficial to the city, voted against the measure that passed 3-1. Ward 2 Alderman Darrell Simpson was absent.
Jones asked what the terms of the lease would be, and Mayor Steve Rosenthal said it would probably model the leases that are already in place near the airport.