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SPP council debates land sale

The St. Paul Park City Council is discussing the possible sale of property at the intersection of St. Paul Park Road and Summit Avenue, just north of SuperAmerica.

In a workshop session Jan. 19, the council considered a proposal received from Mai Bue, owner of the Newport Liquor Store.

Bue wants to build a 6,000-square-foot structure on the corner lot which would house a liquor store and a tobacco shop. A third bay would be rented to another business.

"We didn't make any firm decision (at the workshop)," said mayor John Hunziker. "Our former engineers developed a concept drawing of a 7,700-square-foot professional and office building for that site. That's what I want there."

Hunziker and council member Jeff Swenson are in favor of holding onto the property, which was appraised at $188,000 in 2007. Hunziker said he thinks its value will go up."

Council member Steve Hunstad said he's willing to sell at some point, but is concerned about the traffic situation and he's not in favor of a liquor store. "I'm more interested in retail space and jobs," he said.

"Do we need another liquor store," said council member Sandi Dingle, "when we just had one go out of business?"

City administrator Kevin Walsh said the council wants the city engineer to look at traffic patterns at the intersection.

"I don't think the council is opposed to selling, it just doesn't want to add to the traffic problem," Walsh said. "The last concept plan showed access off St. Paul Park Road. The council wants to find a different access point. It wants to see if the traffic situation can be solved before selling."