Arlie McCain Park is home to the Chandler Museum and Visitor Center, but there is a slight problem – there is very little parking.
That could soon be corrected as the Chandler City Council approved two measures Tuesday during its regular monthly meeting in regards to the park.
Council passed Ordinance No. O-061014 for condemnation of property while authorizing Mayor Ann Hall to enter into a lease agreement with Union Pacific Railroad for the park.
“The museum and visitor center has accentuated our need for parking. That park has always had limited parking, but it was not an issue, because there were not a lot of people using it,” City Administrator John Taylor said. “As more and more people go to the museum and visitor center, it is more and more evident that more parking is needed.”
Taylor explained that a survey was conducted to see who owned a portion of the property several years back, but no owner could be identified.
“Several years ago, a conceptual site plan was done for that park that shows an extension of the park going east on to property that currently does not belong to the city,” Taylor said. “That site plan shows the parking lot being extended into that property to the east. Since the site plan was done, the city has researched ownership of that property. A portion of that property is owned by the railroad while the remainder belongs to somebody else. It is an unusual situation, because typically you can go to the county assessor’s office and find who owns property. The county has no record this property exists. It has never been taxed or on any property roll that we have been able to find.”
Taylor said a surveyor was hired a year ago to survey the property. A title search was conducted with no results.
“In talking with our attorney, because we don't know who to talk to, his suggestion was to go through an imminent-domain process where we make it known that the city needs to acquire the property for park extension,” Taylor said. “Since we don't know who the owner is, we would place the notice in the newspaper, and it would end up going to the county judge. We would show the judge why we need the property and the appraisal. If he decides that is an appropriate imminent-domain issue and awards the property to the city, whatever that appraisal is, that is the value placed on the property. If the owner was found at a later date, they would be awarded that amount.”
In a lease agreement with Union Pacific Railroad, the city will lease land at no cost, but will be required to maintain it, and place a 6-feet chain-linked fence between the park and railroad.
In other action, the council extended the temporary occupancy permit for Old Main Street Market until Dec. 31. The extension is given to allow the owners time to complete the facility, while maintaining day-to-day operations out of it.