BEATRICE – An option Gage Area Growth Enterprise has had on 80 acres near the north Gage County Industrial Park is now in the hands of the City of Beatrice. 

Following a lengthy discussion, which included an hour-long closed session Thursday, the NGage Board voted 8-1 to transfer the option to the City of Beatrice, setting up a potential purchase of the property.  It would then be marketed for economic development purposes.  

NGage Board member Erich Tiemann, Chairman of the Gage County Board, initially proposed the option continue to be held by the economic development organization, but that moved failed on a 4-5 vote.

Officials were facing a deadline at the end of this year to extend the option on the land owned by a private citizen….east of Precise Fabrication.  The option costs $2,000.

Tiemann pointed out the option has been funded by private investor support of NGage. Beatrice Mayor Stan Wirth says the city does not want to see the option potentially expire, losing a chance at additional land for economic development.  He said the city provides the infrastructure to the property and has the ability to purchase the property, at what officials said is a $1.12 million price.  City Administrator Tobias Tempelmeyer says the city is contemplating exercising the option, using bond financing backed by LB 840 sales tax revenue used for economic development.

Tempelmeyer estimated the city has about 20 acres remaining for business development use. 

Tiemann said he feels more comfortable with NGage holding the option. City officials point out there is a risk of losing the option without the ability to purchase the property.  Wirth said he doesn’t understand the thinking that “something covert” is going on by the city taking over the option. 

NGage Board member Dave Norton says the economic development group doesn’t have the necessary funds to purchase the property.   NGage is funded by governmental allocations from the City of Beatrice and Gage County, and from private investor support.