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On Monday evening, St. Marys City Council approved the real estate sale for land in the St. Marys Industrial Park at the airport on which a new business, SMC Powder Metallurgy of St. Marys, Inc. plans to construct a facility.
The purchase price of the land was $203,300 and includes one entire lot and a portion of another. The new business plans to create 200 jobs.
As part of this transaction, the city has been working with the St. Marys Soccer Association in finding a new location for their five fields, which are currently situated on the land.
"It has always been an understanding that we could be moved. Previous boards understood this and agreed to this license," said Tom Nicklas, president, treasurer and complex coordinator for the St. Marys Soccer Association. "The city is working with us. They came to us to tell us what's going on and working with us to try to find us a new location. The soccer association board is working hard at looking at the new location to see that it will meet our needs now and many, many years in the future."
Nicklas added that he and City Manager Dave Greene have had a great deal of discussion and the soccer association agrees the proposal is acceptable.
Greene explained that he and Nicklas, along with additional city personnel, reviewed each parcel both inside the industrial park and on airport property.
"We've chosen a location, with their assistance, that it looks as if we can get ahold of this spot, and the FAA and the Bureau of Aviation approves it, I think we can have a long-term relation at this area without ever having to move off it again," Greene said.
The land is not part of the industrial park, but is on airport property. It is a portion of restricted land, per requirements of the FAA, which cannot be built on due to height restrictions.
Nicklas stated the new fields will be the same dimensions as the current fields and will accommodate the same number of players as they have now, including 250 players in each of the spring and fall seasons.
Greene met with representatives from SMC Powder Metallurgy of St. Marys, Inc. in July, during which time the company expressed interest in moving into the airport industrial park. Upon reviewing available parcels, the company inquired about purchasing lot number 7-- where the soccer fields are located-- and a portion of lot number 5.
In August, Greene informed them the lot was not for sale, as it was currently under lease with the soccer association. The company reviewed the terms and conditions stated in a copy of the license agreement between the city and soccer association. They informed the city about a termination clause in the agreement which states the soccer association would be required to give up the land for industrial development purposes.
Lot 7 and a portion of Lot 5 were the only parcels of the land the company would accept.
"We are cognizant of the need to improve the economy of our town. We recognize an industry such as this coming in will have a positive effect on the economy and further, probably to some of the families of children who play in our league," Nicklas said. "We've got a lot of great use out of the fields. There has been a lot of work that has gone into these fields. Of course, there was a lot of regret in receiving this information."
In addition, Nicklas addressed what he said were rumors and misinformation which have been circulating through the community on the subject.
"I want to let the family members and community know that St. Marys Soccer will continue. The kids will have someplace to play and we're not going away, but simply moving from one spot to another," Nicklas said.
He also recognized the previous soccer board and families and volunteers who put in a great deal of time in establishing the facility, and said he hopes the same will be true for the new location.
"The city has been very open with us, explaining where negotiations have gone. We feel the integrity of this company will be such that any comments made on paper will be followed through upon," Nicklas said. "To the members of council, just know that we're happy to be working with you on this."