The Delta City Council has been looking at underutilized city-owned properties with the intent of selling those parcels to spur private development.
Staff has compiled information on the city's municipal light and power plant, as well as nine parcels surrounding Devil's Thumb Golf Course.
In November 2018, city voters approved the sale of the ML&P plant for a price not less than $100,000. The city will soon issue an RFP in search of individuals who might be interested in that property for a variety of uses -- restaurant, retail, mixed use, housing, industrial, research and development or tourism, to name a few examples. A stated goal is to preserve the historical character of the site in some fashion; generate sustainable new jobs; spark innovation and creativity; and power downtown revitalization.
"We want to try and ensure that whoever buys it will provide some benefit to the community," said Mayor Ron Austin. "We don't want somebody to buy it and just sit on it. We want something that will create jobs and generate new revenue."
Prior to approval of the RFP at a special meeting May 14, the mayor cautioned against establishing so many restrictions, buyers would lose interest. "Ultimately council will have the ability to say yea or nay," he said following the meeting.
In the case of the golf course properties, more analysis is needed to see which parcels can be sold with council approval and which would require voter approval. In addition, there are deed restrictions on parcels donated by the Bureau of Land Management for recreational purposes. "We don't have the ability to arbitrarily sell those," he said.
There's general consensus that if some of the property around the golf course was developed, it could make the golf course more profitable. The proximity of the county airport makes the property even more desirable, the mayor believes.
The golf course itself must remain a public entity, owned by the city or managed by the city, the mayor said, but he said he's open to the possibility of an outside operator "to try and at least minimize our $400,000 annual shortfall."