The Portland City Council approved on first reading an ordinance that would sell a plot of city-owned property on Kirby Drive adjacent to Kirby Building Systems to the steel building manufacturer.

Mayor Mike Callis told the City Council at the Sept. 3 meeting, just before the vote on the measure, that he had been in negotiations with the company regarding the approximate five acres of land for a period of time, and that Kirby wants to acquire the property for $100,000 by the end of the month. Kirby has plans to expand its facility with a 32,000-square foot addition, according to the mayor.

"We're excited about this. They want to hurry up and close on this property by the end of September, and we've got to get two readings in," Callis said. "They're excited. Kirby is fixing to do about to do a 32,000-square-foot expansion. They're going to bring some processes in-house to make themselves a little bit more viable in the market. I'm excited for them."

The next council meeting to give a second reading approval is scheduled for Sept. 17.

Kirby Building Systems had the land appraised and also will pay all closing costs on the transaction.

"I got back in touch with Kirby. They paid for an appraisal, and the appraisal of the property was $100,000. So they made a full offer on the property for the appraised value, and they'll pay for all the transactions," Callis told the council.

Callis already has plans for how the city can use the money. The Robert Coleman Building at Richland Park is in need of upgrades in some areas, and also needs to become more compliant with the American Disabilties Act. Callis said the money from the land sale can go toward those needed renovations on the Coleman Building, which was first constructed in 1915.

"We're hoping to take the proceeds from this money and put that right into the OEO Center -- the Robert Coleman Center at Richland Park. It's in need of some structural help in the floor," Callis told the council. "It's in need of some ADA things to be changed in the bathroom, the entrance and the front fa├žade. This is something we've been trying to get done, but we didn't know where the funding was coming from. If we can take these proceeds, and apply it out there to (parks director) Jamie (White), I know he'll make a real big difference out there in that building. That building was built in 1915. It's time for a little bit of an upgrade."

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