Whelan and Poplar Bluff Reach Agreement
Photo: Property 1 sold for $828,000; property 2 sold for $789,000; property 3 sold for
$1,000,000; property 4 purchase price has not been released
A tentative agreement has finally been reached between the City of Poplar Bluff, and Robert and Robin Whelan of Whelan Wealth Management, 2895 N. Westwood Blvd.
“We have finally come to a tentative verbal agreement,” said Whelan.
Though he did not want to comment on the exact figure agreed upon, he noted he was pleased, and particularly pleased with the speed in which the new Poplar Bluff City Council and city staff ironed out the agreement.
“This had been going on for two years,” said Whelan. “There was never any reason for it to have gone on this long, and there certainly was never any reason for it to go to court.”
Poplar Bluff Mayor Angela Pearson had said a week ago that she felt progress was being made in getting an agreement.
Interim City Manager Mark Massingham said he could not comment on the agreement.
The City of Poplar Bluff had filed a petition with the court in 2012 to condemn Whelan’s property and take it by eminent domain. The situation had evolved under the old city council as they were trying to deal with the road expansion project on Oak Grove Road.
The city had already settled with three other property owners involved in the road expansion. The Schalk property, which was appraised at $828,000, was sold for that amount to the city. The Ozark Medical property, which appraised at $655,000, was sold to the city for $789,000, and the car wash property, which was appraised at just $748,700, sold for $1 million.
The problem was, after over two years, work on the project has been delayed, and costs continued to escalate because the city had never reached an agreement with the Whelans over their property.
The Whelans’ property was the sole business property remaining along Oak Grove Road to be purchased.
In 2012, the city made a bid of about $411,000 based on its in-house appraisal and the Whelans were asking for about $900,000. In July 2013, a new appraisal was conducted and the property and building were valued at $800,000.
Mayor Angela Pearson expressed her displeasure with the way this project has been handled by former City Manager Doug Bagby and the previous city council. She notes this situation began long before she ever took office on the city council.
“I feel that a change order of that amount ($344,000) for the project is in itself embarrassing, and was unnecessary. Such a long period of non-settlement has only complicated the issue,” said Pearson. “The council should have been more willing to negotiate with Whelan.”
“The current city council would like to prevent the need for such losses of taxpayer dollars in the future,” she said. “This significant change order is evidence of prior city council and city officials’ lack of making effective, fair, and good faith business decisions that could have resulted in savings instead of losses. I am committed to helping implement changes that will improve the way our city does business in the future so that those decisions can be more cost effective.”
Whelan has been in his current business location since 1992. He now plans to re-locate to the second floor of the First Community Bank building at 2911 N. Westwood Blvd. He is excited about the new location.
“I’ve loved this location, but I think the new location will also be a good fit,” he concluded.