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City of Virginia to auction its lake Monday

September 21, 2011 at 10:31 AM

The State Journal-Register

VIRGINIA — The city of Virginia is looking for a buyer for its 18-acre lake and surrounding property.

The lake formerly served as the city’s drinking water source.

The recent completion of a new public water facility prompted the city council to decide to sell the 62-acre property in a public auction scheduled for 6 p.m. Sept. 26.

“It was going to cost us too much money to keep it. We have to pay insurance on it and keep the spillway up,” said Ward 2 Ald. Dale Bell, noting he didn’t know the exact expense involved.

He said it has been at least 15 years since the city used the lake as its primary water supply. The new system, which includes a line-softening treatment plant and is fed by wells, was completed about a month ago, Bell said.

The lake’s primary use now is as a public fishing spot. The property’s shelter house, which is the only structure on the grounds, is sometimes used for picnics.

On July 11, residents Gary Smay and Rob Smith made a presentation to the city council in support of keeping the property for public use. Smay had circulated a petition that received 190 signatures, according to city council minutes posted on the city website.

Smay was unavailable for comment, while Smith could not be reached.

Virginia city attorney Luke Thomas said local officials also hope the sale of the lake property would spur development of the site, which is on Virginia’s north side on the west side of Illinois 78, about 30 miles northwest of Springfield.

“It does have great potential,” he said.

The city is pursuing creating a tax increment financing district that would extend from the city square and include the lake property, Thomas said.

Sullivan Auctioneers of Hamilton is handling the auction.

“We were contacted by the mayor, Steve Sudbrink,” co-owner Joe Sullivan said.

Sullivan Auctioneers, which typically sells land for private individuals, then examined the property and put together a proposal.

“It is a beautiful property. It is rolling with large, mature timber,” Sullivan said. “It is a great spot for a sportsman, an outdoor enthusiast or somebody wanting just a beautiful place to build a single home.”

Sullivan said the north side of the lake would be a prime area to build several homes.

“We sell a lot of vacant land in Illinois, Iowa and Missouri, and residential development is down. There’s not nearly the amount of new homes built now. But interest rates are still at an all-time low, and I believe that there could be something like that there as far as a possible new subdivision,” he said.

Sullivan said an open house held at the property on Sept. 6 had a good turnout.

“There are some developers looking at it. I have personally met with some folks over there out of the Springfield area,” he said.

Sullivan said bidding will start low so everyone who is interested will be able to make an offer.

The property will be sold in one individual tract on a price-per-acre basis.


Want to go?

The auction of Virginia’s 18-acre lake and surrounding property will take place at 6 p.m. Monday, Sept. 26, at the shelter house at the north entrance to the property. The land is just north of Virginia on the west side of Illinois 78, about 30 miles northwest of Springfield.

Sullivan Auctioneers describes Virginia’s lake as a “premier development property.” The site includes:

* 62.35 surveyed acres, including an 18-acre lake

* Public water and city sewer

* Three entrances off of Illinois 78

* Fishing and boating opportunities

* Mature hardwood timber

- Source: Sullivan Auctioneers

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