Surprise, Surprise; NOT!
by Silence Dogood

Monday evening the St. Cloud City Council unanimously approved a land swap brokered by Mayor Kleis between the city and SCSU’s President Earl H. Potter. Essentially, Mayor Kleis fleeced SCSU out of a 50-acre parcel of land on the East side of St. Cloud by swapping it for a couple of acres of what amounts to some pretty valueless property south of the St. Cloud campus.

What did the city get? A 50-acre parcel which is a natural area with several water-filled quarries. What did the city have to give up? The 66-foot wide right of way for a road that no longer exists, a small vacant lot, and a little-used and unneeded storage yard. Total acreage of the three city properties is less than a few acres.

Based on the ‘appraised’ values of the property, the city came out ahead by $34,000. However, based on the real value of the swapped properties, the city took President Potter and SCSU ‘to the cleaners.’ The deal needs to be approved by the MnSCU Board of Trustees before it becomes final. However, the Board also approved the lease between the Wedum Foundation and SCSU that has already cost the university $7,700,000 with the potential to cost the university another $6,000,000 over the next five years of the lease. So much for sanity prevailing.

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3 Responses to “President Potter’s dirty deed”

  • Yeager says:

    The University Chronicle seems to have done a nice job digging in to the details of this land swap. Not sure who you can “blame” for this one – the swap originated during Saigo’s time, and it was pushed by Kleis. Ultimately, the swap removes a liability for the University and (slightly) expands the footprint along the actual edge of campus.

  • Gary Gross says:

    According to Kleis last night, the Saigo-Kleis deal wasn’t a swap. If I understood Kleis right, SCSU would’ve kept control of the property.

  • Mystique says:

    The parcels of land the city owns is worth $294,000. The park is worth about $328,000. It doesn’t take a math major to figure out that’s a $34,000 advantage to the city. Getting over 50 acres of undeveloped real estate in the city limits whole giving up around 7 acres of land is a great deal for the city of St. Cloud. The Chronicle did a good job talking about the history of the park but not the land swap itself. This might have been the easiest vote the city council ever made. With the $12 million budget deficit and climbing, layoffs on the horizon, Potter’s love for international travel, massive declining enrollments, Coborn Apartment’s $7 million dollar loss, it is clear that seemingly everything he touches turns to lead. Why would anyone be surprised that a simple land swap would be any different?

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