Westfield considers purchase of land


City leaders in Westfield have approved a resolution authorizing the city’s chief of staff to pursue the purchase of land that recently hit the auction block. 

Three parcels of land at 2510 E. 171st St. totaling a little more than 25 acres went up for auction at 10 a.m. Jan. 26 at the Prairie Waters Event Center in Westfield. Details regarding the purchase price and winning bidder at the auction held by Pendleton-based Don Smock Auction Company, Inc., were not available by Current’s publishing deadline. 

The Westfield City Council signaled its support in a 6-1 vote during its Jan. 23 meeting to authorize Westfield Chief of Staff Jeremy Lollar to pursue the purchase of the land. City Councilman Troy Patton voted against the resolution. 

Lollar told the council during the meeting that the city wanted to purchase the land for an amount not to exceed the average of two appraisals. Lollar did not publicly disclose what that amount is but said the purchase of the parcels would give the city the opportunity to extend Oak Road north from 171st Street up to Ind. 32. 

Lollar declined to reveal the price tied to the appraisal or the name of the firm that conducted the appraisal for the city because of confidentiality in advance of the auction after the meeting. However, he noted that the information would be made available if the city ended up purchasing the property. 

Lollar added that the city is planning to begin construction of an expansion tied to Simon Moon Park. If acquired, one of the parcels could be used for park green space with trails and native plantings, he said. 

The area is in a floodplain, but Lollar said the land could potentially be used for disc golf and other activities, noting that developing a trail nearby is another possibility. Lollar said money for the potential land purchase could come from a portion of funding tied to the repayment of a $6 million loan made in 2014 for Grand Park or by using impact fees such as those earmarked for roads or parks. 

City officials approved a resolution last year stipulating that $3 million would be repaid by Jan. 1, with the remainder being paid on or before Dec. 1, 2023. The city is looking at possibly selling Grand Park or entering a public-private partnership to operate it. 

The 400-acre sports complex, which serves as the training camp for the Indianapolis Colts, has 31 soccer fields, 26 baseball diamonds, two administration buildings, seven concession stands and a 378,000-square-foot multi-use event center. 

Seven entities submitted proposals that are under consideration for the complex, which is currently owned by the Westfield Redevelopment Commission. A six-member panel will eventually make a recommendation to the Westfield City Council and the Westfield Redevelopment Commission regarding the proposals. 

Westfield City Councilman Scott Willis was among those who supported the potential land acquisition, saying he thought it would benefit the city in the long-term and noted that it would help tackle ongoing congestion along State Road 32. 

“It’ll be cheaper to get it today than it will be to acquire it down the road,” Willis said.